Author of The Collingwood Series

A beautiful historical fiction coming-of-age journey, that explores the depth of human emotions and drives home the bitter realities of racism in mid-20th Century Canada. It takes readers on an epic journey into the historical past of two nations divided by culture and continents.

Book One

A Heart to Survive

“Even in the worst circumstances, if you believe

in yourself, you will find the heart to survive.”

A gripping tale of hardships, resilience, and passion,
A Heart To Survive not only explores the depth of
human emotions but drives home the bitter realities
of racism in 1950s Canada.

Book Two

An Unexpected Father

A hymn to the power of love, friendship, perseverance,
and doing things right…

In An Unexpected Father, the second novel in the
Collingwood Series continues the extraordinary
story of the young boy who was forced to leave his

home country of China for Canada

to escape the terrors of Mao’s regime.

Editorial Reviews…

‘A HEART TO SURVIVE’

Haunting, poignant, and compelling…

Human trafficking, racial disparity, resilience, and courage mark Fillis’s earnest series kicker in the historical fiction series. With the civil war in full swing and Mao Zedong’s ruthless control of the nation, fourteen-year-old Tao Wen Shun, the upstanding son of an educated family, is sent aboard a sailing ship to live as the paper-son to a Chinese family in Canada. After a harrowing sea voyage, Tao finds himself in the clutches of a human trafficking gang, and escape doesn’t seem like an option. The world Fillis creates, be it the disquiet of a Chinese town of Hangzhou or the searing discrimination of a Canadian city, is both complex and authentic. The warm, grounded romance toward the end comes out as a pleasant surprise. Although the novel tackles various complex themes, including human trafficking, racial discrimination, young love, and a teenager’s coming of age story, Fillis’s expert execution of the plot and sharp cultural observations make it a gratifying read.

– THE PRAIRIES BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★

‘A HEART TO SURVIVE’

In this sharp-edged, dark historical drama, a young Chinese boy’s attempt at a normal life in Canada crumbles after he falls prey to a human trafficking ring. It’s the peak of the civil war in China. With Mao Zedong’s rebel forces gaining momentum, fourteen-year-old Tao Wen Shun is forced to board a ship to Canada by his family to escape the terrors of Mao’s regime. But instead of a Chinese family awaiting him on the other side, he finds himself trapped in the clutches of a human trafficking ring. Fillis skillfully chronicles Wen’s courageous ascent to liberation, imbuing his story with a sense of claustrophobia and hope. Wen Shun is gutsy, resourceful, and keen to help others, and his journey to freedom is inspiring as he remains standing tall in the face of the relentless difficulties life throw his way. Crisp prose, the affecting first-person narrative, and tension-filled, tight plotting keep the readers turning pages nonstop. The conclusion is left unresolved, leaving readers excited for the next installment. Paired with the atmospheric setting, the exploration of the themes of human trafficking, racial discrimination, and individual struggles makes for a thoroughly engrossing coming of age tale.

– BookView Review ★★★★★

‘AN UNEXPECTED FATHER’

“A poignant, evocative, and engaging read…

Engrossing and elegant, Fillis’ second installment in the Collingwood Series explores relationships, endurance, desires, and means of survival. Winson and Caitlin are man and wife now, much to the dismay of the latter’s father. The pain of separation from his family weighs heavy on Winson’s mind, but his bond with Julian gives him strength. When a tragedy strikes, Winson becomes Julian’s most trusting aid, but there are people who despise his Chinese roots, and with Tak and Dung back, his dream of having a normal life becomes a distant possibility. Fillis skillfully captures the pain of loss and the resiliency of the human spirit, and his crisp prose keeps readers turning pages fast. Winson’s relationship with Julian, his bond with Kai, his apprehensions about being an immigrant and acceptance, and Caitlin’s unwavering trust in him are all beautifully portrayed. This fascinating coming-of-age journey, focusing on the strength of family and friendship, forgiveness, redemption, integrity, racism, and issues of immigration, will appeal to a wide readership. Fans of historical fiction will be enthralled.”

– BookView Review ★★★★★