Authors in Focus

C.J. Cutayne - Author Bio

Colleen Cutayne is a writer from British Columbia. She has published two illustrated stories in Stories for Children Magazine titled Al P.I. - Private Investigator about an alligator detective who solves the mysteries of nature and Fandangle Magazine titled Good Gravy where a little girl learns to appreciate clean water when it's replaced with gravy in her imaginary world.

Colleen has attended UBC writing centre and has been a member of the SCBWI for nearly a decade.

Her first novel Because of the Moon was written with love and respect for the First Nations culture whose land she has lived on for her entire life. British Columbia is where Captain Cook landed and changed the face of the First Nations people forever. Colleen wanted to learn more about the First Nations culture in a contemporary setting that would enlighten readers to their plight, their humanity, their sense of humour and their rich traditions that are threatened by everyday survival.

The sequel titled "The Copper Raven" continues the journey as Jay, the protagonist, searches for the missing Copper Raven; an artifact that was stolen during a raid while an "illegal" potlatch was being celebrated. This one is more mystery and adventure than "Because of the Moon" and is equally entertaining.

Colleen lives with her husband and two sons in Port Coquitlam, BC.


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Books in Focus

Because of the Moon - by C.J Cutayne

"Obedience is for dogs,” spouts Jay; an out of control thirteen year old. Aspiring to be the city’s most prolific graffiti artist, thirteen year old Jay Roberts is caught in a shakedown of a chop shop in his favorite alley. Without a father or family around, Jay has no sense of who he is or where he belongs. His mom never speaks of the past and is too busy worrying about the future to notice Jay is heading down a dangerous path.

With no one to back up his innocence, Jay is given his choice of punishment; go to juvenile detention or spend six months on his mother’s run down Indian reservation where his estranged grandfather will oversee Jay’s penance.

Confined to the village and allowed outside only for school and community service, Jay feels claustrophobic and used. He continues his destructive behavior; shooting a crow, breaking curfew and hitch-hiking back to the city. The social worker, fond of surprise visits, is anxious to catch Jay in the act and send him to youth detention.

The kids treat him as an outsider adding to his isolation and desire to return to the city as soon as his punishment is over. To survive, Jay is forced to confront Miles, the school bully. Jay slowly wins the respect of his peers by managing to creatively neutralize the bully.  

Jay’s initial resentment is slowly chipped away as Grampa reveals their rich heritage through storytelling and totem pole carving. On a clear night, Grampa points out Orion's belt. Having never seen more than a few stars before Jay asks, “If Orion's belt fell down would we see a full moon?” and the two click.

With the village in the grips of economic and social despair, the chief and elders have given up all hope of keeping the village together as more and more people are forced to move. However, Jay sees something they don’t. Through artistry and ingenuity Jay devises a plan to save the village and ultimately his family but will the tribe listen to an outsider they call ‘Apple’?


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