Kingsville Author Wings His Way to Success

By Aaron Jahn

Kingsville author Tom Omstead was in Amherstburg at page 233 on Dalhousie on Saturday signing copies of his novel ‘The Red Wing Sings’  about Canadian resistance fighters defying an American occupation using Sir Isaac Brock’s success in 1812 as guide.

Omstead never planned to write, but after showing his wife his dream in written word, she and his mother both encouraged him to put pen to paper and share his tale with readers.


“It woke me up and I said to my wife, I really had this full on dream and in it the main

Tom Omstead signs a copy of his book 'The Red Wing Sings' for Stephanie Setler at Page 233 Bookstore

character found Brocks diary and it inspired him to resist,” said Omstead.  “And so she said write it out and I did on two pages and I showed it to my mom who’s a writer and she says I should develop this into a book.  So I thought ‘that’d be fun’ since I never ever aspired to write a book and 316 pages later I wrote a book and it strikes a chord with people.”

Omstead spends half of his time at his home in Kingsville and believes that the upcoming bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812 and his home’s proximity to Lake Erie helped feed his dream.

“I’m sure that was kind of in my sub-conscious and perhaps I had just heard something about the bicentennial, I had this full on dream and it was about the storyline that happened 200 years ago, only it happens again today,” said Omstead.    “There’s an event that involves Fermi and it’s a terrorist situation so they (the U.S) send in troops to occupy Canada in order to secure the entire North American perimeter from more terrorist threats.  It becomes an unwanted occupation and Canadians resist it in the end just like they did 200 years ago.”

Omstead has been humbled by the reception to his book and is thrilled to be on his second printing already.

“When the book was first released on Amazon it was something like three million in popularity,” said Omstead.  “At one point, it fluctuates day-to-day, it was as high as thirteen in political fiction in sales.”

At one point he had a publishing an agreement for the book, but the company wanted to wait until 2014 to release the book.

“I spoke with some friends out west that had self published books and they recommended FriesenPress, who have operations in both Manitoba and Tennessee,” Omstead said.

One group he has received very strong support from are teachers, who have really connected to his book.

“It’s striking a chord with teachers.  I get a lot of feedback from teachers.  It has been suggested that I should approach the school boards.  A number of (teachers) think they can apply them to their subjects,” said Omstead. “It’s kind of cool, because back in high school I was like a B student in English.”

The Red Wing Sings is available from FreisenPress, Chapters Indigo, Amazon, and local bookstores across Canada.


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