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‘I can’t just do nothing’: Kelowna woman publishes first book series at 84

Kelowna’s Myrna White, a retired nurse, mother and grandmother, has published her first book series
Kelowna’s Myrna White, mother and grandmother and retired nurse, has officially published her first book series. (Jacqueline Gelineau/Capital News)

Not many people do the best writing of their lives in their 80s. Even fewer publish their first book at 80 years old.

Former psychiatric nurse Myrna White, now 84, said she needed something to do after retiring and downsizing her home – so she decided to write a book series.

“I can’t just do nothing,” said White in an interview about her publications. “Just not manual labour – I’m too lazy for that,” she joked.

One of White’s three children accompanied her to the interview and laughed at the thought of her mother simply sitting around.

White grew up in northern Alberta in family of 16 children. From a young age she had to learn occupy herself and developed an active her imagination.

As a young woman she left her small town and had a strong desire to explore and create change.

“I have always seen things differently,” said White.

After nursing school, White settled in Kelowna to raise her children. For more than 30 years she worked at Oak Lodge, a psychiatric facility that was located near the Kelowna General Hospital.

“I just want to help people all the time,” said White.

She was a strong advocate for those with mental illness and cognitive disabilities and helped to pioneer change within the healthcare system.

Through her experiences growing up with 15 siblings and then working as a nurse, White became a great listener and observationalist, and takes note of the inspiration she gathers from life.

”I always carry about six pencils with me,” said White.

She said she never knows when the urge or opportunity to write will strike.

While Marbles; Eye of the Tiger was her first published work, White has written many short stories and creative pieces throughout the years.

The catalyst for the Marbles book series struck at a Tim Hortons in Kelowna. While White had initially developed the concept for the story years prior, she rekindled the inspiration while watching children at the coffee shop.

The Marbles series tells the adventure of a boy named Kyle who moves from California to India with his mother and cat. In India, Kyle begins to notice a mystery that follows him around and under the city. To save others, he must embark on an adventure and face the challenge of a lifetime.

White said the fiction books are written to be enjoyable for all people, from pre-teens to adults.

Marbles; Eye of the Tiger and Marbles 2; End of Day, can be purchased at Amazon, Indigo Books, Barnes and Noble and Mosaic Books in Kelowna.

Never one to sit idly by, White already has ideas for future books and plans to continue writing stories for her friends, family and community to enjoy.

To learn more and follow White’s journey, visit

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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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