In his own words:

As I remember it, life began on top of a load of furniture in a sleigh drawn by a team of horses on a bitterly cold day. My mother was walking alongside in the snow when the moment arrived. She claims it was Valentine’s Day, and of all people, she should know.

I attended a one-room school house outside of the French Canadian town of Mascouche, Quebec, and later in the metropolis of Montreal. At some point, an overworked school teacher wrote a note home to my mother to say that someday I would be a writer. The rest of the family laughed.

I spent long winter afternoons and nights reading, and acquired a love of history. I never realized the depth of this love until, years later, I stood on a street corner in old Montreal and read the inscription etched on a brass plaque attached to the cornerstone of a grey, brick building. It read simply, “Hudson’s Bay Company.” There stood the company synonymous with intrigue and adventure, and, being of French and Scottish heritage, the people behind those adventures were my ancestors. They were the French voyageurs, or coureur de bois, who traversed the mountains and forests, and paddled the streams and rivers, and the Scots who sent them out in search of the fur pelts, which led to the exploration of the North American continent.

I was sixteen when my father found an old farmhouse, badly in need of repair in West Bolton, Quebec. There I spent a year among people who would become lifelong friends. But my father passed away before he realized his vision for the house.

My mother took us back to Montreal, and I soon left school to find a job to help support the family. Then a Christmas phone call came from California, and the invitation to come west took us to North Hollywood, with palm trees and salt sea air—and word that I was too young to work. I returned to school.

I stood in the quad of North Hollywood High with a recent import from Australia, gazing at the parking lot and wondering how the school could have so many teachers. The Aussie informed me that it was the students’ parking lot. Life had certainly changed.

I soon discovered California’s lofty Sierra Nevada Mountains and streams filled with wild trout holding below the riffles, as if waiting for the dry fly attached to the end of my line. However, those towering, snow-capped peaks beckoned, and I could not care less if the trout were hungry. Life was wonderful.

With the early beginning of a writing life, and being married to an artist, our two beautiful daughters grew up in a home filled with artistic expression. Later, we moved down the coast to a town in Orange County, until it was time to sell a business and find a place to begin the work put on hold for so many years.

We settled in Hayden Lake, Idaho, with a beautiful home a few miles from the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Now I load my Surly Long Haul Trucker bike on the back of the car and drive to the trail whose path winds its way along the Coeur d’Alene River. I find a spot beside a small lake to watch the ducks and geese feed among the lily pads, or sit in a small clearing beneath a canopy of leafy branches, and there work out the twists and turns of the stories I want to tell.

Learn more about the A Land in Turmoil Series or contact author E. Paul Bergeron with your questions or comments.