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
ARTS & CULTURE
Sask. author publishes historical
adventures of Canadians
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
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.]