Lacombe-based author Fran Kimmel to lead writers’ workshop in Stettler

Kimmel’s novels include Shore Girl and No Good Asking

By Mark Weber For the Advance

Central Alberta author Fran Kimmel is gearing up to host a workshop here in Stettler as part of Alberta Culture Days this month.

Kimmel, who has two novels to her credit and a third on the way, will be presenting ‘The Art of Persuasion for Creative Writers’ on Sept. 26th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stettler Public Library.

The workshop is free of charge but there are only 12 spaces; call the Library to book your spot.

All folks need to bring is a pen and paper, a favourite novel or memoir, a packed lunch, and their enthusiasm.

“First of all, I am so looking forward to actually being in the same room as other people after so many Zoom and online kinds of sessions I have been doing,” she said during a recent chat. “I’m hoping it will be a great chance for us to get together and talk about all things writing.

“We are going to be doing a lot of fun writing exercises, which are non-intimidating, to get our writing muscles working. We will also be talking about the kinds of things that make writing more persuasive – that includes things like having great detail to make your writing ‘pop’. We will talk about beginnings – how to get started and I’m also hoping that, at the end of the session, there will be time to just chat. So I’m really looking forward to it.”

Another reason she is excited about visiting Stettler is for the chance to further connect with folks who have a similar passion for writing.

“What we do is quite a solitary occupation a lot of the time. So it’s so fun when you can get together with people and just share a passion for putting words on paper.

“I think it’s really exciting to also hear what others have to say, to try and help to encourage their voices to come through. My greatest thrill when I’m in a classroom is being able to hear their words. I try and create the environment that feels safe enough that people feel comfortable sharing,” she said.

In her bio, Kimmel, who is originally from Calgary, noted that over the years, her portfolio has included fiction, Internet writing, newspaper and magazine features, teen magazine columns, radio dramas, educational videos and corporate writing.

“After graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in sociology, I completed a Professional Writing Certificate from Mount Royal University.”

From there, she’s held an assortment of jobs including Boys and Girls Club director, youth worker, career counsellor, proposal writer, communications coordinator, instructor, and a 10-year stint as a vice president for a national management consulting firm.

A few years back, she also led the Write On! program for the Parkland Regional Library system, which took her over 1,800 kms to meet with emerging writers in 15 communities across Central Alberta.

Looking back further, Kimmel noted she was, by nature, quite introverted – so writing always proved an ideal means of self-expression.

“It was the easiest way for me to express my thoughts and feelings. And I was drawn to it right from a young age. And from a young age, I could get so emotionally invested in other people’s words and in my own words on paper.”

Years later, as a young mom, she started to freelance.

“And then my corporate career has had a heavy focus on writing as well. So I’ve only started writing my own books over the past decade,” she added, referring to her acclaimed novels Shore Girl (2012) and No Good Asking (2018).

“It was something that was always a goal of mine – to write my own books and to tell my own story,” she said. “So it’s been this ‘thread’ going through my life right from the time I was a little girl.”

Kimmel noted that for the first novel, it took several years to bring it to completion because during the process she hadn’t exactly planned on writing a book.

She had been writing lots of short stories and so her first book essentially started as a short story.

“And then I wanted to learn more about the characters, so I wrote another short story. And then another. And then I thought this whole thing could turn into a novel!

“The characters become so real to you, they become like people in your life. So the same way that you remember details about family and the people close to you, it’s the same thing with your characters.”

These days, she’s clearly enjoying the journey – particularly the ‘creative’ journey.

“I think the thing that continues to fill me with wonder about writing is that I can sit down, and no matter what kind of writing day it is, I can eventually get into the groove of it and I can end up with something I had no idea would be there at the beginning of the writing session,” she explains. “So it’s this matter of being able to paint a whole brand new world with words – it fills me with joy and a sense of accomplishment. It really does gives me a sense of purpose.”

For more about Fran Kimmel, check out her web site at www.frankimmel.com.

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