Writing under the pseudonym “S. Wampman,” district resident Mike Kemper has released three books filled with high-flying float plane adventures, crime, and more.
“All Bush Pilots Lie” was written after his four-year stint as a bush pilot, including three with Rusty Myers here and one out of Atikokan, Kemper noted.
“Actually, I started it just for myself in a big way just to remember the stories—and a good thing I did write them down because I would have forgotten a lot of it, for sure,” he admitted, describing the stories as funny, exciting, and unusual.
His second book, “Bird on Two Sticks,” is a collection of various other writings.
“I thought, well, I might as well put everything in book form that I had written,” Kemper explained of why he went on to put together the compilation.
“[It’s] short stories mostly, an essay, a poem, a prayer, 19 altogether.”
“The Long Winter,” meanwhile, is a crime story set in Fort Frances that Kemper wrote in the 1980s following his move back to Canada (he was born to German immigrants in Montreal, who returned to Germany).
With his Canadian citizenship, Kemper returned to Canada in 1982, and then hitchhiked across the country and back before buying land in Miscampbell.
While the stories were written years ago, publishing them for the public is a new step he has taken.
“I always wanted to try to make a living off of it,” Kemper said about writing.
“But it always used to be if you wanted to self-publish something, because you couldn’t find a publisher, you had to order like 500 or 1,000 books to have the printers set up and everything, and that would cost a lot of money.
“And I’m sure a lot of people think, ‘Oh, I can sell them to my friends, and relatives and stuff.’ But I think the truth is that 450 are in the basement and that person is out a lot of money.”
But thanks to the Internet, Kemper said prices have come down, meaning that it’s “book and demand” for authors, with the cost “just about nil.”
Kemper’s books are available at Betty’s here for $15 each.
“Which I’m very honoured that they’re having them for me because they are unedited and raw,” he remarked.
Kemper said the chance to be creative is what he likes best about writing.
“After my kids are grown now and out of the house, I think now the only thing left is being creative,” he reasoned.
“After family is done, arts,” he explained, adding he now calls himself an “abstract action artist.”
“I turned 50 last year,” Kemper said, referring to what also has motivated him.
“And last year, too, one of my best buddies in Germany—he was a full-fledged artist with awards and everything—and he died.
“And I thought a lot about it, and this might sound funny but I feel that he’s sort of reincarnated himself in me, like I suddenly felt my calling.
“He died an alcoholic, sad and everything, nevertheless the creative things he did always impressed me.”
With three books down, Kemper currently is working to write a fourth.
“Another crime story and mainly from Fort Frances,” he hinted. “Seven murders in Fort Frances, seven different people.”