Father turns bedtime story into first novel

Father turns bedtime story into first novel

Terry Magnus got the idea for his novel from working in potash mines. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

An original bedtime story that Terry Magnus used to read to his daughter every night is now a full-fledged novel  . . . 20 years later.

And the journey to get there was “incredible,” he says.

The former Oliver high school graduate recently published his book “Hammerstein an Adventure: The Trek to the Land” on Amazon.ca.

The novel is based on characters he made up in a story that he told his pre-teen daughter Sabrina every night before bed.

“She never fell asleep (because she was so engrossed in the story),” Magnus said.

The fantasy tale features a young Hammerstein who leaves city life behind to follow his dream filled with dwarven adventure.

Sabrina was only five years old when the tales of Porqui and Pitar enthralled her. Now she’s 26 and living in Portugal, and is thrilled that the stories she grew up with are now the subject of a book that everyone can enjoy.

Magnus started writing his novel eight years ago, but during the last two years he dedicated all of his time to it. He believed the only way to get it done was to treat it like a full-time job, and he was right.

With all of the distractions at home, it is too easy to put it off, so he had to develop discipline. And he found the only way to really let his ideas flow was to write the story by hand via pencil and paper. Using a computer keyboard just didn’t work for him.

Magnus, 61, was born in Oliver and raised on an orchard operated by his parents, Art and Mary Magnus.

Fast-forward to Grade 12, which ironically saw him failing English, but in a twist of fate, his teacher Robert Bull mistakenly gave him a C-plus (another student’s mark) and passed him.

Magnus had no idea he could write until later on in life. He enrolled in BCIT in Vancouver to study electrical engineering, then worked in the potash mines in Saskatchewan teaching and marketing. He found that technical writing was his specialty.

While working in the mines, Magnus used the unique environment as ideas that formed part of his book.

He reveled in the fact that the workplace was 1.5 kilometres below the surface, where employees drove convertible diesel trucks in huge tunnels, some of which stretched 40 kilometres in one direction.

There were parking lots and little villages down there. “It made me think of a Schwartzenegger or Alien movie,” Magnus said.

Following his work underground, he came up for air and helped a friend market her orphanage with children’s stories. This was the turning point that gave him the confidence to write Hammerstein.

Completing the book has given Magnus an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

“It’s hard to put the pencil down and believe that it’s finished,” he said.

For Magnus, Hammerstein is not only the character’s story, but “my story, our story, the oldest story, a story of hope and greatness.”

By Lyonel Doherty

Hammerstein an Adventure: The Trek to the Land is now a full-fledged novel by Terry Magnus. It began as a story Magnus would tell his daughter before bedtime. The Oliver man was supposed to fail Grade 12 English, but in a twist of fate, he got the passing mark of another student by mistake. Only later, did Magnus learn he could write.