Walter Schmur, a 77-year-old Mission resident, recently completed his third novel. His latest work is called Nightmare With Fins. / Kevin Mills Photo

A love of writing

Mission author pens new novel, Nightmare With Fins

Walter Schmur loves to write.

The 77-year-old Mission resident recently completed his third novel and shows no signs of slowing down.

Schmur, a retired accountant, says although he worked with numbers, he has always loved the written word.

“I’ve written for most of my life, off and on. But I was an accountant and I never really felt like that was my cup of tea. I was a fish out of water,” he explained.

Schmur’s last novel, called Strike While the Iron’s Hot, was about golf and did fairly well.

His new novel is called Nightmare with Fins and Schmur said despite the ominous title, it “ends up being a feel-good story.”

It has been a long journey getting the

story published.

“I started writing it about seven years ago. I made up my mind one day that I would write 500 words a day, for 100 straight days. I ended up with a draft of more than 50,000 words,” he said.

Once he was done, he thought,“OK, that’s the beginning. Now I have to do the rewrite.”

All the hard work of editing, tweaking and rewriting has eventually led to the completed work.

Nightmare with Fins is set in the 1950s and tells the story of a widow who is left to raise her children alone. Government assistance isn’t enough and she is forced to seek employment.

“It’s somewhat connected to an experience I had growing up as a teenager in Clearbrook. I lived next door to a widow who was raising four children.

“One of the main images I had of the situation was their house. It was a square house wrapped in black tar paper with loose bits flapping in the wind. They didn’t have enough money to finish it.”

Schmur said those real-life images can be found in the pages of the book.

The fictional story continues as the widow finds work as a cleaning lady for a

wealthy couple.

While her employers are stern, the widow is happy for the work. However, she has a recurring nightmare where she is riding in her employer’s Cadillac car with fins. In the dream she sees a truck approaching and an accident occurs. She keeps waking up startled and vows to never get inside that car.

Years later, during a terrible storm, the widow has no other way to get home to her kids, other than a ride in the dreaded Cadillac.

What happens next? Schmur said you will have to read the novel.

“The book has a small supernatural element to it, with the nightmare aspect, but it’s really an uplifting (story).”

While he won’t divulge if he plans to write a fourth novel, Schmur said he is keeping busy.

At the moment, he is translating books. He is currently working on a book of short stories that is in French.

“It’s kind of a hobby.”

Nightmare with Fins is now available on Amazon. In January, copies of the book will also be available locally at the Mission Arts Council.

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