Lampman's Maureen Ulrich has released “Breakaway,” which is the third, and the likely final story, in her series of somewhat-fictional hockey books.
Ulrich was at the Estevan Public Library for a book launch and a reading on September 5. “Breakaway” follows her debut novel, “Power Plays,” and its sequel “Face Off,” as it continues the story of teenaged female hockey player, Jessie, and it shares Jessie's joys and tribulations of adolescence.
“There are some new challenges for Jessie,” said Ulrich. “She's in Grade 12, so she's thinking about what she wants to do with her life, what she wants to take in university. She knows she wants to keep playing hockey, so she's thinking about that a lot.”
Jessie is also starting to date, but is making some decisions about dating that might not be beneficial, Ulrich said.
Much like “Power Plays” and “Face Off,” there are elements in “Breakaway” that are based on fact, and would be familiar with local hockey fans. Jessie is excited in “Breakaway” about the opportunity to play in brand new Spectra Place. Many of the games are also based on real-life hockey happenings.
Ulrich said this is probably the final book in the series. There is a sense of finality in the book, but she also leaves a window of opportunity for her to resume the series at some point. Her publisher, Coteau Books, has said they would be willing to release more books about Jessie if Ulrich is interested.
Ulrich says it is hard to believe that this is probably the end for a trilogy that she worked on for more than a decade.
“Today, I actually had the copies of the three books in the same box, and it sort of felt funny, having all three there,” said Ulrich. “And it's sad. It's good, but it's sad, too. It was hard to say 'good bye' to Jessie. I've enjoyed writing about her.”
The novels have not only served as an opportunity to write and to get her works published, but they have also enjoyed commercial success and critical acclaim. “Power Play” was nominated for three Saskatchewan Book Awards.
Ulrich is currently working on some young adult fiction/fantasy. She said it's quite different from her previous works, since it's dark and a little bit graphic. She classified it as alternative history, since it's an account of things that could have happened, but the events are fabricated.