Friday, March 24, 2017

White City Star [Saskatchewan] article about YesterCanada

White City is a relatively new community 10 min east of Regina, SK. The White City Star just published Robyn Tocker's article about my book YesterCanada. Robyn is an editor, reporter, and book author. Thanks, Robyn!

8 TheSTAR | Serving White City, Emerald Park, Pilot Butte, Balgonie & surrounding areas | Friday, March 24, 2017



Sask. author publishes historical

adventures of Canadians

Robyn Tocker


Elma Schemenauer has written over

70 books and her most recent release

celebrates Canada’s history, just

in time for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Schemenauer grew up east of Elbow,

Sask. She now lives in B.C., but she and

her husband frequently travel to Saskatchewan

to learn more about Canada’s

history and its people.

Schemenauer started writing in the

late 1960s. Since then, she has published

77 books, the majority children’s


“I always wanted to be a writer, but

growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan,

I didn’t have much idea of how

to be a writer. We didn’t even have a

newspaper in Elbow. There wasn’t any

idea of how you could actually be a

writer, so it took me a while,” she said.

Schemenauer became a teacher

instead and taught

Saskatchewan’s children. While on a

teacher exchange program in Nova

Scotia, she decided to make a career


“I thought, ‘If I’m ever going to be a

writer, I should just do it,’” she said.

Schemenauer went from Nova Scotia

to Toronto to find work in the publishing

industry. The move from rural

Saskatchewan to big city Toronto

wasn’t easy, but Schemenauer did it.

She found a job at a magazine called

the Canadian Chartered Accountant.

“It was a start; out of that I got hired

by a publishing company,” she said.

“That’s when I started writing and I

couldn’t believe I was actually hired

to write. I had this image of a writer

just being somewhere alone trying to

write and trying to get something published,

which is what most writers go

through. In my case I got really lucky.”

After eight years, Schemenauer became

a freelance writer and worked

on educational children’s books.

Schemenauer’s latest book, Yester-

Canada: Historical Tales of Mystery

and Adventure, tells 30 historical tales

about everyday Canadians spanning

from the 1200s to the 1900s. A few of

these mysteries include: Where in the

icy Arctic is the lost Vancouver-based

ship Baychimo? What strange power

rang the chapel bell in Tadoussac,

Quebec one foggy April night in 1782?

“I’ve always been interested in history

and my parents were interested

in it. My dad would tell stories around

the dinner table from history and I got

interested in it that way,” Schemenauer


“When I was working in

publishing in Toronto, I was having

to do a lot of work that had to do with

history, so it got me hooked into that.”

Schemenauer chose these 30 stories for

her latest book because they interested her.

“They are stories that grab me, mostly

because there’s a human interest. I

like ordinary people and most of them

are about ordinary people,” she said.

“There are some there about people we

all know, like John A. MacDonald.”

A lot of research went into this book.

Schemenauer said she read books, magazines

and newspapers; interviewed

people and traveled a great deal.

“I did a lot of research in libraries

in Toronto,” she said. “In some cases,

I was able to interview people who

were first-hand with the story, who

knew something about the story.”

Writing this book was an “emotional

adventure” for Schemenauer.

“I got really hooked into the stories.

I was very involved in them personally,”

she said. “My husband likes this

kind of thing too, so we did a lot of

driving around to visit the sites where

these things took place … We went to

see the sites of these places wherever

we could.”

Schemenauer said she hopes people

are entertained by her collection of

mysteries and adventures.

“I want them to get some sense of

what life was like in the past, what

people had to put up with,” she said.

“Some of those people – it’s incredible

what they put up with. They managed

to be brave and continued to do it.”

She hopes readers notice the strong

values prevalent in her book.

“I’m drawn to that kind of story.

There are lots of stories you could write

about Canada’s past, and some of them

the values in them would be pretty

bad, but I hope to instil good values

like courage and reliability and things

like that,” she said.

[YesterCanada is a 248-page paperback, $19.95. If you're interested, ask for it in a store or library. Or order online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa.]

No comments:

Post a Comment