1935 United through art

Bloom Where You Are Planted: 50 Conversations with Inspiring British Columbians
by Beka Shane Denter

Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2022
$39.95  /  9781772034295

Reviewed by Valerie Green


This book by Beka Shane Denter is an inspirational collection of interviews in the form of Q&As with photographs, of a group of fifty (forty-nine women and one who identifies as non-binary) very diverse people.

All fifty people live in British Columbia and work hard in their various fields of visual art, dance, photography, music, design, comedy, storytelling, food, fashion, advocacy, modeling and business entrepreneurship. Their individual stories, which forcefully come through in Denter’s interviews, will inspire readers — and that was her purpose for writing these stories.

The author states in her Introduction that “from a very young age, I went to galleries, art shows, dance performances and music festivals. Mine was a colourful and creative childhood.” She strongly believes that art in all its many forms can inspire and unite us in mind, body and soul.

Beka Shane Denter

Beka Shane Denter’s Introduction in the book also shows how she came to write this book and is a very poignant read even before you begin the individual stories of these inspirational people.

It is difficult to pick out a particular story because all these “interviews” are extremely well done and enable the reader to see behind the outer veneer of the person being interviewed with probing questions that dig into the personality of the real person.

But here are just a few of the fascinating questions and artists in the book. Athena Bax, for instance, is an artist who “feels so blessed to make a living painting … and genuinely feels that her work is here to help others.” One question in her interview the author asks her is, “Is there one piece with which you feel a special connection?” Her reply: “My mother’s portrait. But honestly, I call them all my children because I really do like them all the same…. ”

Jewellery designer Leah Belford. Photography by Marcy Media

Leah Belford, a jewellery designer states: “To me, this is more than just a business. My whole life is wrapped up in it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” When asked, “How do you hope people feel when wearing your jewellery?” she replies simply “Loved, empowered, and beautiful.”

Erin Brillon, a creative designer and entrepreneur for Totem Design House, has a “rich and diverse background — Haida and Cree Nations, plus Irish and Italian” and she strongly believes “One of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves is practice our culture.”

Erin Brillon. Photography by Kimberly Kufaas

Others in the book such as Ndidi Cascade (a musician,) Ellen Castilloux, (a special education support worker and fitness coach), Justine Chambers (a Contemporary dance artist) and many others bring a unique perspective to a variety of other talented women. The founder of Sealuxe, Tanya Droege, best sums this up with the words “If you have a passion, follow it, and think about the qualities you have that set you apart from everyone else.”

The plethora of other stories also includes those of dancers, singers, a chef, a textile artist, authors, photographers, a fitness coach, a model and a comedian. A veritable collection of women who have made their name in so many different fields. Take time to read every story even though this hardcover book is a significant read and will take more than one sitting. Readers will probably consult the index and pick out subjects that are of particular interest, but all are indeed fascinating and confirm a single idea — that there are indeed many talented, hardworking people living in the province of British Columbia. This book brings them to light in a charming way.

The author, Beka Shane Denter, wrote this book during the pandemic and calls it “her pandemic passion project, an attempt to use my experience and enthusiasm to infuse some form of positivity into a world that needs inspiration….” She adds, “I hope that you feel a connection with each of these stories and celebrate your own purpose and passion in whichever form that may take.” She has indeed achieved her purpose of spreading positivity and passion to her readers.

Beka Shane Denter is a Canadian ‘features and content’ writer who has used “her knowledge, passion, and nomadic lifestyle to fuel her writing career.”

Sculptor Marie Khouri. Photography by Alexandra Khouri


Valerie Green

Valerie Green was born and educated in England where she studied journalism and law. Her passion was always writing from the moment she first held a pen in her hand. After working at the world-famous Foyles Books on Charing Cross Road, London, followed by a brief stint with M15 and legal firms, she moved to Canada in 1968 where she married and raised a family, while embarking on a long career as a freelance writer, columnist, and author of over twenty non-fiction  historical and true-crime books. The first three books in Valerie’s The McBride Chronicles 4-book historical fiction series – Providence, Destiny, and Legacy – have recently been released by Hancock House . Now semi-retired (although writers never really retire!) she enjoys taking short road trips around BC with her husband, watching their two beloved grandsons grow up and, of course, writing. [Editor’s note: Valerie Green has recently reviewed books by S. Lesley Buxton and Sue Harper, Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio, John D’Eathe, Bruce F.B. HallJeanette Taylor, and C. C. Humphreys for BCR.]*


The British Columbia Review

Interim Editors, 2023-24: Trevor Marc Hughes (non-fiction), Brett Josef Grubisic (fiction)
Publisher: Richard Mackie

Formerly The Ormsby Review, The British Columbia Review is an on-line book review and journal service for BC writers and readers. The Advisory Board now consists of Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Barry Gough, Hugh Johnston, Kathy Mezei, Patricia Roy, Maria Tippett, and Graeme Wynn. Provincial Government Patron (since September 2018): Creative BC. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. The British Columbia Review was founded in 2016 by Richard Mackie and Alan Twigg.

“Only connect.” – E.M. Forster

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