I’ve known Fred Stenson since I managed Sandpiper Books in Calgary, when he first came into the store to promote a new book he had edited, Alberta Bound: Thirty Stories By Alberta Writers. And, oh-my-goodness, the memories of that time (1986) have just come flooding through when I looked up the link to the book, which is still available used but is no longer in print. (Perhaps a good utilization of the new technology of eBooks would be to breathe life into great collections such as this one. But, I digress …) I’ve followed Fred’s career and have read his books ever since that time, and I know him to be a gentleman, a caring soul, a writing instructor and mentor, very, very supportive – and a fine writer! So I am particularly pleased to feature Fred Stenson on ReadingRecommendations and bring his writing to the attention of all my blog readers. smtFred Stenson
What is your latest release and what genre is it? A novel called Who By Fire
Quick description: A dangerous sour gas plant is built close to a family’s farm in Canada’s Rocky Mountain foothills. The plant malfunctions and poisonous sour gas flows down the slope and endangers the family and occasionally kills livestock, reminding them of the lethality of the situation. The story is how this changes the family and the community and determines the family’s fate from then on. The youngest son becomes an engineer and finishes his career in the Alberta oil sands, running the sulphur unit in an upgrader. Problems of loyalty have followed him all his life, and he has never found a healthy way to deal with that problem.
I was born on a southern Alberta farm in a situation similar to that depicted in the novel, though the characters are not patterned on my family or myself. After this farm upbringing, I pursued a career as a novelist and freelance writer. Except for frequent travels, I have lived my adult life in Alberta, Canada, in and near the city of Calgary. Who By Fire is my sixth novel and ninth work of fiction (three story collections). I have two adult children from a first marriage and live in Cochrane, Alberta (near Calgary) with my wife, Pamela Banting.
Links to buy Fred’s book:
The novel is published by Doubleday Canada. It is available at: Chapters/Indigo stores or through Chapters/Indigo on-line – Hardcover and Kobo – eBook; and at Amazon – eBook and Hardcover. Most Independent Bookstores in Canada will carry the book, including: Shelf Life in Calgary and McNally-Robinson in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
What are you working on now?
I am doing some commissioned work at the moment, but will return to fiction soon. I have several books in mind, some partially completed. Of the latter, one novel is set in the movie industry, where I worked for a time. Now that I’ve written a contemporary novel, Who By Fire, I’m not in a hurry to get back to historical fiction. A contemporary novel, maybe even one written in first person, appeals to me.
Fred’s reading recommendation:
A kind of New Year’s resolution was to up my reading. I’ve always read avidly, but I wanted to read more and catch up on some classics I’ve missed along the way. In that way I have been reading the novels of the Norwegian Nobel winner Knute Hamsun (Hunger, Growth of the Soil, Pan) and a couple of Doestoevsky’s works: The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot. Of contemporary novels, some of the recent reads that have affected me most include: City of Bohane by Kevin Barry, The Disappeared by Kim Echlin, and the novella Grayling by Gillian Wigmore.