As an author, and a person, James Andreas is focused on people. He recently spoke at the Yorkton Crossing retirement community, where he now lives, about his life and work.
Andreas began writing because of his interest in people. He said this goes back to his childhood, when he knew the homesteaders and they would tell him stories.
“They told me a lot that they wouldn’t tell my grandparents.”
His belief in the equality of people started from a young age, when his parents told him to never make fun of an accent. Because of this, he said he was open to learning about people from all backgrounds, and interested in learning their stories, which served as an inspiration for his own. His goal was to write stories that are difficult to put down.
A life of travelling around the province, whether with education, sports, music or working with the Catholic church, gave Andreas plenty of opportunities to meet people from everywhere. They inspired his writing.
“I could write for six or eight hours a day, no problem.”
One of his interests was also the homebrew trade, and he’s still interested in finding out more. He asked multiple people at the event what they knew about the town of Govenlock, which he said was part of the homebrew trade, with alcohol from this area shipped down there, which was 30 miles from the American border.
“I knew the station agent down there and I phoned his daughter and I said, you know those two shacks by the railroad? She said yeah, those were railroad supplies. I said it wasn’t, it was homebrew.”
While he wrote a book about homebrew, he said it was now the hardest of his books to find.
Andreas says that his family’s ‘heart and soul’ is his wife Evelyn, who he has been married to for 69 years. Still very much in love, he has nothing but admiration for her.
“She hasn’t got an enemy in the world. When I took her to see my two grandpas, ‘my cracking Jim’s got a good looker there!’ That’s how she was welcomed.”
His entire family lives in the province, including eleven children, 22 grandchildren and an increasing number of great-grandchildren, all within two to three hours of each other. Like their grandfather, they all tend to poke gentle fun at each other.
“I had one granddaughter who came up, she was in her late 20s, she came up and said “I was insulted grandpa.” I asked, “why were you insulted?” “Someone said I was just like you!””
The reading came thanks to the staff at Yorkton Crossing knowing Andreas. He said he expects that someone heard about his history doing plenty of MC work for graduations, so they would have guessed that he was pretty good at talking to a crowd. He said that when he would MC, he wouldn’t spare anyone from a joke, noting that while plenty of people were reluctant to give the gears to a parish priest, for example, he felt it was important to bring them down to earth.
He has over 60 manuscripts which have yet to be published, but is leaving them in the care of his children. While he’s not interested in getting them published, because the business is tough – especially if you’re self-publishing – he said that some of his kids might be interested in doing something with the manuscripts. He said that there were some publishers who were interested, but wanted total control, to increase the price, and thought there should be more sex and swearing, which Andreas thought was inappropriate for the stories he was telling.
“We never ever did swear.”
Andreas’ books are available at Yorkton Crossing while supplies last.