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The story of Mr. Big


Television viewers from across the province have seen Colleen Lewis for more than a decade covering news from Central Newfoundland.

Now you can see her on an ‘about the author’ page in a book.

Her professional background includes some print media before starting in broadcast news in 2002, where she has been ever since.

But now, though still reporting, she is also back to putting words on paper, with a book, Mr. Big.

“It’s nice to put script to pictures, but to be able to sit down and do something that’s so in depth, it’s like a little vent,” Lewis said.

“Print was always my first love, and creative writing has always been a passion.”

When Lewis began in broadcast journalism, an investigation was ongoing into the deaths of three-year-old twins Krista and Karen Hart, and the trial of their father, Nelson Hart.

“When I started …. the investigation was underway in Gander at that time, so I’ve been there right from the arrest on,” Lewis said.

The book came about right from the beginning of the trial, Lewis said. There was so much information on a daily basis that it seemed two minute news package wasn’t enough to explain everything that was taking place.

“By the end of the trial I realized there was enough information that a book was a real possibility,” Lewis said. “Over a span of 12 years it was constantly changing, there was constantly new information, and then in 2014 when I went back for the appeal hearing where they decided that the Mr. Big evidence was going to be dismissed, at that point I kind of looked around and there was nobody there who had been covering the trial from the start. I was the only one. So I knew if someone was going to do this, and bring all this information together in one place, it was me.”

 

Mother involved

The book is co-written by the mother of Krista and Karen Hart, Jennifer Hicks, whose story moved Lewis to write the book.

“All along she had supported him,” Lewis said. “After they divorced and she started to talk about what her life was like with him, I think that’s where I started to think that more was needed, more than the two minute piece each night.”

The book was a big step from covering a story.

“When you cover it, in that two minute piece, you’re really just skimming over the main details for that day but a book takes you into someone’s kitchen, it takes you in to their life, in their day-to-day, how they were living, and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” Lewis said.

“Your research has to be much more thorough, but at the same time it’s kind of freeing because you always know the back story is there but you never get to tell it. Now all of a sudden I can sit down and I can tell the whole story.”

Even though she covered the story for 12 years, Lewis said she was shocked by how much detail there was.

“It’s quite a story,” she said.

Lewis began the process last August immediately following Nelson Hart’s appeal hearing. She spoke to a few friends about the idea of a book and they agreed with her.

“This story is so important to the people of Gander, to the people of the province, everybody in Newfoundland knows where they were that day,” Lewis said. “It’s personal for everybody.”

She interviewed Hicks intensely over the winter, and wrote, every night after she put her daughter to bed.

“Through narrative, I’ve reconstructed Jennifer’s life story from the time she moved to Gander as a teenager helping her sisters and taking care of her family until she met her husband,” Lewis said. “Then I brought people into the Mr. Big scenario. It goes into detail about (Nelson Hart’s) trips across the country and as far as he knew he was working for a crime syndicate. It takes the readers back and forth from Vancouver to Montreal. Meanwhile (Jennifer’s) perspective is still there, what was happening with her while she was at home.”

The book then takes readers right through their entire lives up until the time Nelson Hart was arrested, and charged in 2007 with the first-degree murderer of twin daughters Krista and Karen Hart in August 2002, then after he is arrested, and through the trial right up to the point where the evidence was dismissed in 2014.

“It’s an interesting story,” Lewis said.

The book launch will be held in Gander on Oct. 3.

“We chose Gander for the launch because the people there have been extremely supportive of Karen and Krista from the time they came home from the hospital until their deaths in 2002,” Lewis said.

Mr. Big was set to hit shelves in Grand Falls-Windsor this week and can be ordered from the publisher at www.flankerpress.com and major book chains including www.chapters.indigo.ca.

 

Now you can see her on an ‘about the author’ page in a book.

Her professional background includes some print media before starting in broadcast news in 2002, where she has been ever since.

But now, though still reporting, she is also back to putting words on paper, with a book, Mr. Big.

“It’s nice to put script to pictures, but to be able to sit down and do something that’s so in depth, it’s like a little vent,” Lewis said.

“Print was always my first love, and creative writing has always been a passion.”

When Lewis began in broadcast journalism, an investigation was ongoing into the deaths of three-year-old twins Krista and Karen Hart, and the trial of their father, Nelson Hart.

“When I started …. the investigation was underway in Gander at that time, so I’ve been there right from the arrest on,” Lewis said.

The book came about right from the beginning of the trial, Lewis said. There was so much information on a daily basis that it seemed two minute news package wasn’t enough to explain everything that was taking place.

“By the end of the trial I realized there was enough information that a book was a real possibility,” Lewis said. “Over a span of 12 years it was constantly changing, there was constantly new information, and then in 2014 when I went back for the appeal hearing where they decided that the Mr. Big evidence was going to be dismissed, at that point I kind of looked around and there was nobody there who had been covering the trial from the start. I was the only one. So I knew if someone was going to do this, and bring all this information together in one place, it was me.”

 

Mother involved

The book is co-written by the mother of Krista and Karen Hart, Jennifer Hicks, whose story moved Lewis to write the book.

“All along she had supported him,” Lewis said. “After they divorced and she started to talk about what her life was like with him, I think that’s where I started to think that more was needed, more than the two minute piece each night.”

The book was a big step from covering a story.

“When you cover it, in that two minute piece, you’re really just skimming over the main details for that day but a book takes you into someone’s kitchen, it takes you in to their life, in their day-to-day, how they were living, and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” Lewis said.

“Your research has to be much more thorough, but at the same time it’s kind of freeing because you always know the back story is there but you never get to tell it. Now all of a sudden I can sit down and I can tell the whole story.”

Even though she covered the story for 12 years, Lewis said she was shocked by how much detail there was.

“It’s quite a story,” she said.

Lewis began the process last August immediately following Nelson Hart’s appeal hearing. She spoke to a few friends about the idea of a book and they agreed with her.

“This story is so important to the people of Gander, to the people of the province, everybody in Newfoundland knows where they were that day,” Lewis said. “It’s personal for everybody.”

She interviewed Hicks intensely over the winter, and wrote, every night after she put her daughter to bed.

“Through narrative, I’ve reconstructed Jennifer’s life story from the time she moved to Gander as a teenager helping her sisters and taking care of her family until she met her husband,” Lewis said. “Then I brought people into the Mr. Big scenario. It goes into detail about (Nelson Hart’s) trips across the country and as far as he knew he was working for a crime syndicate. It takes the readers back and forth from Vancouver to Montreal. Meanwhile (Jennifer’s) perspective is still there, what was happening with her while she was at home.”

The book then takes readers right through their entire lives up until the time Nelson Hart was arrested, and charged in 2007 with the first-degree murderer of twin daughters Krista and Karen Hart in August 2002, then after he is arrested, and through the trial right up to the point where the evidence was dismissed in 2014.

“It’s an interesting story,” Lewis said.

The book launch will be held in Gander on Oct. 3.

“We chose Gander for the launch because the people there have been extremely supportive of Karen and Krista from the time they came home from the hospital until their deaths in 2002,” Lewis said.

Mr. Big was set to hit shelves in Grand Falls-Windsor this week and can be ordered from the publisher at www.flankerpress.com and major book chains including www.chapters.indigo.ca.

 

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