Beth Parker sheds light on history of leasing

New book examines one of Canada's lesser-known industries

Writer Beth Parker accomplished one of the hardest projects she’s ever worked on: a book on the history of leasing in Canada.

The Leaside writer, who has penned many non-fiction books as a ghostwriter, has recently published Unstoppable, a non-fiction volume on the asset based finance and leasing industry in Canada.

“It was not easy — just because you can’t find it on Google, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Parker said, while seated in the living room of her Leaside home, Oct. 7. “None of this information is on Google, it was all in the heads of the people I talked to.”

Plenty of research and interviews went into the historical account of one of Canada’s lesser-known industries, which led to the title.

Even though the subject matter may sound somewhat esoteric, Parker assured that was not the case.

“I talk to people about the title, and I say it’s not as boring as it sounds,” the boomer admitted. “What impressed me about the industry was this was an industry that the banks didn’t want to exist, the governments kept putting in rules — so there were things that kept getting in its way.

“Instead of groaning, ‘Oh woe is us’, they just turned around and did it. There was this resilience in the industry, and that’s where the title, Unstoppable, came from.”

The Canadian Finance and Leasing Association celebrated its 40th anniversary and sought to commission a writer to gather the anecdotes of some of the industry’s movers and shakers, many of whom were in their 80s.

What made the association, and publisher Barlow, opt to give Parker credit outside of her usual ghostwriting fare was the style in which the book was written.

“They realized it really was my voice telling the story,” she said. “I think it gives real value when [the book] has an author’s voice, and (my) not being from the industry was actually something they liked.”

Unstoppable, available on Amazon, has caught the attention of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and McGill University.

It’s not the first book to sport Parker’s name. In 1991 she published the children’s book Thomas Knew There Were Pirates Living in the Bathroom, which she wrote while on maternity leave.

The bright red cover gleams from its perch on a table next to the sofa in the home where she and husband John, the incumbent Ward 26 city councillor, raised their family.

“I pitched it to a publisher, and we got that,” she said. “But you don’t make money from fiction books.”

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Posted: Oct 13 2014 10:13 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto