Local real estate agent publishes dystopian fiction novel


An 18 year veteran of the local Royal Lepage realty team has set his sights on growing an old passion with much success. Oxford Mills resident, John Carkner, has recently released his first mass-marketed novel – “Selection” – with a local book signing event scheduled on July 22.

John explained to the Times that his new fiction novel is about relationships, loyalty, and love. “Perseverance also plays a big part,” he added. “It’s set in the near future where the climate crisis is becoming more and more of a reality and the protagonists are faced with this, as well as the agenda of a company which has developed a sophisticated genetic engineering result.” 

John has been an avid reader since he was young. “I remember taking more than one trip to the library in any given week to load up with more books,” he said. “Of course, this was a time when kids could walk to the local stores and libraries unaccompanied by adults.” He was routinely inspired by the “classics” written by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Frank Herbert, as well as works from Canadian authors like W.O. Mitchell, Margaret Laurence, and Margaret Atwood. A poem-writing assignment in school made him realize that writing was an important means of expression for him. 

While “Selection” is the first novel that John is mass marketing to the world, it is certainly not his first crack at fiction writing. He wrote a full length novel called “The Sacred Grove” many years ago. “I sent it off to a New York publisher and it made it past the first gate but no further than that,” John explained. “Life, our own young family and work kept us busy for years after, but when the dust had settled a bit, I got back to writing.” He also had a book called “Morgan” published on Amazon.ca a few years ago, but he never took the time to properly promote it.  

John explained that an author’s writing process can be a rollercoaster ride and often relies on both inspiration and feedback. “Writing is a very peculiar thing to do,” he said. “When the words are flowing, when the characters take over, when the story unfolds almost on its own, writing is magic! At other times, it’s a slog. At the end of the day, writers write because they have to. There is a void when this creativity slows or stops.”

Through John’s experiences in the local community,his real estate career and involvement with groups and activities such as the Kemptville Lions Club, the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and sheep farming, he learned a lot about people and their interactions with each other. “Above all, writers observe, and North Grenville has been a rich and vibrant place to do just that,” John added.

John and his wife are both still working, and they look forward to visits from their three kids and “much-loved” grandkids at their home in Oxford Mills. “We’re pretty sure we’re on track to retire perhaps in our 90’s – we’ll see,” John joked. 

Fans of suspenseful fiction can buy “Selection” at Chapters/Indigo in Barrhaven and Kanata, or by ordering online. A few indie bookstores in Ottawa have copies as well. A Spaniels Tale in Hintonburg and Singing Pebbles books on Main Street in Ottawa both have copies. The book is also available online from Barnes and Noble, Amazon.ca, and Austin Macauley Publishers. Readers can find the links to these sites on John’s website, johncarkner.ca.

A book signing will take place in Kanata on July 19, with a local “meet and greet” and book signing taking place on July 22 in Kemptville. The July 22 event will take place at 139 Prescott St (Royal Lepage building) from noon until 3pm. 

John is nothing short of ambitious, and he has his sights set high: “Wouldn’t it be awesome if a senior guy taking his first real stab at the publishing world could make it to the New York Times best seller list? Now there would be a story!”


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