Riverview fiction from former psychiatrist turned author

Edward Waring is best known in Canada for his work as a psychiatrist.

Edward Waring is best known in Canada for his work as a psychiatrist.

He was a psychiatry professor at Queen’s University and UBC, past president of the Ontario and B.C. psychiatric associations, and a medical director at Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam before retiring as the psychiatry head at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

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During that time, he published many academic papers and books about mental health and relationships, including Enhancing Marital Intimacy, Why Men Depress Women and his famous Waring Intimacy Questionnaire.

But when he left his profession behind in 2007, the Port Coquitlam resident longed to write fiction that touched on his past studies and the lives of his former patients.

Soul Bruises came out a decade later and was based on a character named Andy Edwards, a psychiatry professor who receives two letters: One telling him he was clinched a prize for his discoveries about marital intimacy; the other informing him of a sexual complaint made against him.

For his second novel, which came out last fall and is now for sale via amazon.ca, Waring delves into a make-believe storyline about two murders at Riverview: The first, a First Nations patient who insists she’s a princess and whose band owns the land rights to the hospital grounds; the second, the psychiatrist who’s advocating on her behalf.

Waring, who punched out the copy on an Underwood 378 typewriter, said he has been thinking about the plot since he left the institution in the late 1990s, when the government was starting to wind down operations.

At that time, when he was the medical director at Centre Lawn — the building housing the acute psychiatric patients — he wasn’t impressed with some of the medical and government protocols and decisions. Still, Waring stayed at the facility for two years and was eager to learn about Riverview’s history and treatment of First Nations people.

His book, simply called Riverview, “is a local story, which is good because there are lots of people in this area who used to work at Riverview like me and my wife,” Waring said. “It’s entertaining because it’s written like a TV program and is full of suspense but there are also some hard truths, as well, about a former era at Riverview.”

While the novel is currently only available online (he’s hoping to sell it in Tri-City bookstores soon), Waring said his readers have given the short page-turner good reviews.

And his British publisher, Austin Macauley, is asking for more. “They’re anxious to see what else I can do in retirement,” he said with a laugh. 

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