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Local author runs in new directions

By March 19, 2022No Comments
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Susanna Pankiw, who is a fixture in the local running scene, is also making a name for herself as a self-published author.

The retired school teacher and former Boston Marathon runner from Marwayne is staying active while marketing the first two books in her series, The War of the Dragons, for the fantasy fiction lover.

As in running, Pankiw is trying to catch her second wind as a self-publisher in charge of her own marketing that comes with the role.

Her first book, The Legend of the Stone and the Embryo and her second book, Breaking the Illusion, debuted last fall with the publicity just catching up.

“It’s a whole learning process, this publishing world,” said Pankiw, who writes under the pen name and her maiden name, S.J. Walker.

“We have to check out the metadata and advertising and creating social media. When you hand your book over to a publisher, they do all of that.”

The belated PR is worth the wait, knowing Legend of the Stone and the Embryo took Pankiw more than 20 years to write.

“I took some writing courses online and I spent years between writing and learning and raising my kids and teaching,” said the 52-year-old mom.

She also ran the Boston Marathon in 2017 alongside Kathrine Switzer, 50 years after the American became the first woman to officially register and run the marathon in 1967.

Currently, Pankiw is training for the new 25/50 kilometre Crazy Muley Ultra run through sand dunes in Edgerton on June 11, while continuing to write.

She hopes to finish what could be the third and final book in her fantasy series, but she’s also mulling the idea of a prequel.

“There’s some stories that need to be told that aren’t really conducive to the main story,” she explained.

The books are targeted for readers ages 15 and up and can be purchased online from Amazon.

Pankiw writes full-time since she took early retirement in June from a 29-year teaching career with the Buffalo Trail Public School Division.

She spent the last 15 years in the classroom teaching a Grade 3-4 class in Dewberry.

“I taught in Edgerton, Marwayne and I taught students part of one year online, so I have the whole gamut— high school, junior high and elementary,” she said.

She was also a liaison with the Vermilion Standard and the Vermilion Voice newspapers and got her start in self-publishing with the children’s book, What’s My Color?

The Fantasy book genre is her favourite type of fiction.

“I’ve always liked the fantasy and it’s always been there. It’s generally what I read too,” said Pankiw.

That’s reflected in her two books with the stories taking place in the Village of Shambalese and Ogdon’s Oasis, with characters named Reollyn and the Arch Mage Kazo with superpowers.

“I like the magic and the whole creation of a new environment and a new world. It’s definitely an escape from the real world,” said Pankiw.

Running is something that’s also been a passion for Pankiw since she was a young girl.

“I always liked to run, even as a student. When I was a kid, I ran as soon as the snow melted and I’d run all summer,” she said.

“That was back in the time when there weren’t any big events for runners, so you just did it on your own.”

She’s was going to sign up for the Titanium Half Marathon in Lloydminster until she learned the Crazy Muley is the following week, too close to recover.

Whether she’s running, driving or just out and about, Pankiw is always thinking about how to work the people and places she experiences into book characters and locations.

“When I look at things in the world, I try to imagine how I could work that into a scene in the book,” she said.