Miguel Fenrich, new reporter for Battlefords News Optimist, is also a published author.
WILKIE — Miguel Fenrich has lived in the Wilkie area for most of his life and currently resides on his grandparents’ (Barb and Tony Schwab) farm northeast of town. Although he attended nursery school at Norman Carter School, he was homeschooled for the rest of his childhood.
Fenrich says he believes homeschooling was ultimately an advantage, leading to his publishing a well-received first novel, Blue; opened his own publishing company, Supernova Press; and worked as a frontline reporter for the Battlefords Regional News Optimist – all before he was 21.
Surprisingly, though, Fenrich is most proud of his ability to connect with people, saying he wasn’t really a social person as a teenager and was actually “afraid of people.” He is now involved with the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and the publishing group SaskBooks and serves as a board member for both organizations. And of course, his job as a reporter requires him to speak to a variety of people in and around the Battlefords.
Fenrich says he has already made some positive contributions to meetings of the bodies he serves on. He takes it as a great compliment that he was told he was “real”.
While many people with a completed novel might consider this their greatest achievement, Fenrich says, “Because I did it so early, it just feels like I’m doing it.”
Fenrich says he is troubled by conversations with others following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests across the United States. Noting a lack of understanding and empathetic responses, he wished he had a way to educate people on an emotional level. Then, upon learning of Jane Elliott’s 1968 experiment in which she categorized her third grade class by eye color to prove that prejudice is a learned behavior—which can thus be unlearned—Blue was conceived.
As Fenrich said, “Everyone has eye color,” and he imagined a whole world divided by the color of one’s eyes. He began writing in June 2020 and had his first draft completed by fall of that year. “As soon as the idea came to me, the writing just rushed into me,” he said. He says he felt divinely inspired and spiritually guided, saying “Oh my God, I get it” many times during the writing.
After about 18 months of refining and polishing, Blue was released in June 2022. After agents and publishers said it was “a very challenging book“, an “outstanding book” and “a very good book” but unfortunately that there was currently no market for such a book, Fenrich founded his own publishing company, Supernova Press .
Although his own novel was the first to be published by Supernova – and received a positive response at the book launch and during a Book Week tour – Fenrich founded Supernova to provide other authors with challenging and thought-provoking material a chance to read and Consider giving read for publication.
Fenrich is now working on two new and different novels alongside his main job. The Homesteaders, a paranormal horror story about a German immigrant family living on the Saskatchewan prairies in the late 1920s, will be released at a book launch at the North Battleford Public Library on January 13, 2023. His second project is 273 Days, a contemporary story about a young man with nine months to live who embarks on a road trip across Canada. He also envisions creating a comedic play as a spin-off of 273 Days.
Although he wrote his first story for an aunt at the age of six, Fenrich says he was not a writer as a child. However, he was an avid storyteller. He loved pretending to create scenarios in his head and then act them out. One day he realized that he could write them down, and a young novelist was born.
Fenrich says he believes there is a stigma around children being homeschooled and his biggest challenge in life has been overcoming that stigma. He pointed out that even though people say things to him like, “But you missed out on some of the best experiences in life,” he believes writing a novel was the best experience of his life. He also says because he was homeschooled, he had to do it earlier in life than it would have otherwise.
Blue can be ordered in either print or e-book from supernovapress.com and is available through the Lakeland Library system. SaskBooks also has the book available in their online bookstore and Amazon Blue will soon be offering it as an e-book.
For more information on Miguel Fenrich and his upcoming projects, please visit his website at miguelfenrich.ca.