April's Local Author, Joel Lefevre

Questions for Joel

Q: What is one thing you want people to know about your book?

A: I want people to know that my book is about a tragic loss that was compounded by a lack of empathy or caring from the police department in New York. My brother, Mathieu, a rising young artist, originally from Leduc County, was making a name for himself in New York City when he was hit and killed by a truck driver in Brooklyn back in 2011. Police failed to charge the driver or conduct a proper investigation, leading to outrage amongst New Yorkers and worldwide as our story was picked up by news outlets from Macleans Magazine, the New York Times and CNN, among others. Through our countless lawsuits, we helped change the way police handle traffic collisions in New York and worldwide. My book is about how speaking up no matter how long your odds are and how that can make a huge difference. We may only be one person and one voice, but if we use our voice, chances are others will follow. We do not have to accept the status quo just because that’s how things were, and things can change for the better if we want them to. Speaking up against injustice can make things safer for everyone. I hope that’s what people take away from my story.

Q: Why did you become an author?

A: I wanted to become a writer so that others who might be in similar situations to me might have some hope that things can change and that no matter what you are feeling or how hopeless your case may be, you can make a difference. As a former actor and journalist, I enjoy telling stories of all kinds that can move and captivate others. Writing is a labour of love and a fantastic way to share your thoughts and feelings with the world. Writing this story was a way to face the grief I was going through with my brother’s loss head-on. My story helped me handle what I was going through and let out many feelings I’d been holding in for years. What my family and I went through, I think, helped show others that we have other options besides staying silent. Writing is a fantastic way of expressing yourself to the world no matter your story, and it is an incredible journey.

Q: Do you have any advice for any new and upcoming author / illustrators? 

A: My advice for new and upcoming authors would be to remain focused on why you want to write and why it means so much to you. Writing a book is not an overnight process; in some instances, it takes years to put together a single book, don’t get discouraged by the process and changes that you may have to go through and never lose heart no matter how well or not your book sells. Be proud of yourself for having the guts to share a story with the world, as it requires a lot of courage to put yourself out there, celebrate the journey and everything that goes along with it. Keep at it, never give up, and you will be just fine.