Wednesday, 13 April 2016 14:38

Swift Current author Irene Bingham launches three new books

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Swift Current author Irene Bingham’s decision to take a coffee break when she experienced writer’s block resulted in a chance meeting and the creation of three new books.

A book launch for the three children’s books will take place April 22 at the Art Gallery of Swift Current.
The three stories are based on the fascinating life of Vic Pederson, the man who came in for a refill of coffee while she waited in line to order.
“These stories are based on some of the things that he did during his lifetime,” she said.
Bingham, who grew up on a farm in the Abbey area, has known Pederson for many years. He was an assistant leader to the 4-H club that she belonged to as a teenager.
He was an animal trainer, chuck wagon racer, parade celebrity, rodeo entertainer and traveller. At the time of their chance encounter she was looking for information about mules for the story she was working on.
“So I asked him about working with the mules and different things and that’s how this got started,” she said. ”He wondered if I would consider writing something about his life.”
She started working on the books just over a year ago and the first one, Fred the Trick Mule, was finished last fall. Fred was one of the animals in Pederson’s last mule team.
“He had three teams of mules at one time, and Fred and Barney are the last team that he owned,” she said. “Fred got an Appaloosa mother and a Mexican jack for a father, and he’s a very colourful mule. He learnt tricks very easily. He was an animal that was very easily trained, and Vic used him to do tricks along with his dog Smokey.”
The second book, Smokey and Bandit, is about a dog and a little pony that Pederson used for shows during his travels.
“Vic travelled all through Saskatchewan, Alberta and the northern States at rodeos and pony chuckwagon and pony chariot races,” she said. “He did intermission shows. ... They were trained to do tricks and he used them.”
The third book, Red Deer Forks Trail, relates Pederson’s interest in this trail through the eyes of two mules, Fred and Barney.
Pederson made four different trips along this trail with a team of mules and a wagon.
“The reason he went on this was because his grandparents travelled from Swift Current to Miry Creek to their homestead in the Miry Creek municipality in 1910,” she said. “He kind of retraced that trip, their original one.”
The books contain a variety of interesting photographs from Pederson’s private collection of images.
“This was very enjoyable because the pictures I could pick and choose from,” she said. “I have some very historical pictures … I have pictures of him and the dog putting its pay cheque in the bank. It was fascinating to go through the pictures and try and pick and choose. Sometimes it got to be a little bit hard not to take one.”
Bingham decided to write these stories as children’s interactive history books to encourage children and their families to also research their own family histories. They can then paste their own family photographs into the back of these books.
“Even if you put in the pictures of your favourite pet, it’s something that’s recorded and to me it’s very important,” she said. “It may not seem like much, but I look at the one picture I have of my mother where she’s standing with her saddle horse holding a pumpkin in front of the shanty where she was raised at about 17. So just being able to collect pictures or collect things and put it someplace.”
Bingham who is a member of the Prairie Quills Writers Group in Swift Current, has written a number of short stories that have been published. Two of her children stories have been published on Amazon and she has self published a book of Christmas stories. This is the first time she will have a formal book launch for her own works.
“This is kind of a big thing for me,” she said.
She has written a murder mystery that is currently reviewed by an editor and she enjoys writing in many genres.
“I think I enjoy different kinds of writing more than being held to one piece of writing,” she said.
She is currently working on the novel that originally caused her to take a coffee break when she had writer’s block and she is also looking forward to an upcoming project by the Prairie Quills Writer’s Group to write and perform a play.
Bingham’s book launch at the Art Gallery of Swift Current will start at 7 p.m. on April 22. Admission if $5 and refreshments will be served. She will read from the books and Pederson will also be at the launch.
There will be an opportunity to look at some of the additional photographs from Pederson’s collection that have not been included in the books.

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