Novel set on Amherst Island launches at three local events, starting July 8 on AI

Author Claire Ross Dunn will launch her novel At Last Count on Amherst Island on July 8, which is where the book is set. Photo by Georgia Kirkos.

A book launch event on July 8 on Amherst Island will introduce Claire Ross Dunn’s debut novel, At Last Count, to residents of the island on which the story is set.

Dunn, a Toronto TV writer who has worked on television series such as Degrassi and Little Mosque on the Prairie and has written several movies for streaming, has family ties to the island through her husband’s parents. She continues to maintain a connection to the Amherst Island community, located off the shores of Loyalist Township in Lake Ontario, just west of Kingston.
At Last Count tells the story of 39-year-old Paisley Ratchford, who is facing eviction from her Toronto apartment building as it is slated to be demolished. The story moves between Ratchford’s present-day life as an introverted adult seeking legal assistance to reclaim her family homestead on rural Amherst Island, and her experience as a 13-year-old girl struggling to control life with obsessive compulsive disorder. Ratchford’s story is told with humour, sadness and hope as she takes a shot at a future, a roof over her head, and the possibility of love.
After spending 25 years as a writer for film and television, Dunn says that writing a novel was a “completely unique experience.”
“Books and TV are very different,” Dunn says. “TV is ‘show, don’t tell,’ while books examine the interior of a character.”

Now, Dunn is “reverse engineering” her book back into a format for screen. She has been awarded Canada Media Fund (CMF) Early Development funding to adapt the book into a one-hour drama for television.
“I wrote a story in a very different format, and now I’m translating it back to the screen,” she says.
With sharp humour and keen wisdom, Dunn taps her own experience with OCD to portray a nuanced main character in Ratchford.
“Although the book is completely fictional,” says Dunn, “I wrote from the very true place of having struggled with OCD, mostly in my youth. I’ve kept that secret most of my life, except for my closest circle, so talking about it out loud, now, in my fifties, is new. I’m finding it quite freeing, actually, and I hope the book can be part of an important conversation about mental health.”
At Last Count was released through Invisible Publishing on June 14, 2022, and will be available in the US in July. The book was selected as a Toronto Star Summer Reads pick, and Dunn has been invited to the Vancouver Writers Fest in October to talk about her novel.
Dunn will be at a free book launch event in Stella on Amherst Island on Friday, July 8 from 7 to 9 PM. The book launch is hosted by the Amherst Island Women’s Institute at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 1955 Stella Forty-Foot Road.

The event features a special door prize in a hand-knitted pillow made from local Amherst Island sheep farm Topsy Farms yarn and created by knitter Kirk Dunn. A copy of the book will also be given away as a door prize.

For more information about this event, please email

Dunn will also launch her book at two other area events in July, on Wolfe Island and in Bath:
Saturday, July 16, at 11 AM
The Island Talks: Wolfe Island Author Reading with Claire Ross Dunn
At the Market at Wolfe Island Commons

Sunday, July 17, 1 to 3 PM
At Last Count reading with the author at Books on Main in Bath
368 Main Street Bath Unit 10, Bath, ON K0H 1G0

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