Much like a great novel, sometimes our lives can have an intriguing plot twist. This was the case for Herman Steuernagel about seven years ago, when he felt inspired to leave his hometown and an unfulfilling banking job.
Today, he’s a web designer by day, science fiction novelist by night, runner, cyclist and living life to the full. And where better to do all of those things than Penticton?
“It’s interesting how the choices we make decide where life will take us,” says Herman, reflecting on that pivotal time in his early 30s. “My dad had just passed away, one year after he retired, and I realized I didn’t want to work a job I didn’t like.”
So Herman left his banking career, where he was managing two banks and 30 people, and he and his wife Nettie packed up their lives in La Crete, Alberta, to move to Penticton. He started up his own web design company – and hasn’t looked back.
“We had vacationed here in the summers and liked Penticton and thought it was the best place within reason to move, still in Canada, so came here for sunshine and wine. I also road cycle and this is a great area for that so that was part of what brought us here.”
What do you do?
Herman works as a web designer, currently for Calgary-based XM Media, which merged with his former company, The Fourth Media. They specialize in building custom websites, search engine optimization and google ads for a wide variety of companies of all sizes.
Before his previous life as a banker, Herman was a reporter at the Northern Pioneer community newspaper – a natural fit after gaining an English degree from University of Calgary. While he soon discovered it was not his dream job, this education and experience no doubt carved the path for his other passion – writing novels.
Read his first novel
Herman’s first book, published in December 2020, is a young adult dystopian science fiction novel titled Lies the Guardians Tell. It’s the first book in a series, based on a futuristic story about a young woman who sets off on a journey to learn the truth about her world’s existence. The book can be purchased through online merchants and is already receiving rave reviews.
Herman says he has finished writing book two and has four others in mind for the series.
“What happens after that, we’ll see,” he says.
Strike it off the bucket list
What inspired Herman to start writing novels? The journey began in the summer of 2019 when he agreed to join his friends to train for a half marathon. Having never been a runner in the past, it was a lofty goal.
“I went from couch to half marathon in four months,” he said, and completed the Kelowna Half in a time that surprised everyone, including himself.
“I figured, if I can do this, I can do anything,” he added. “Novel writing was always on my bucket list and I didn’t think I had the time. But if I had the time and dedication to enter a race that I had never previously dreamed of doing, I knew I could accomplish something I’d always wanted to do.”
Next on the bucket list? Possibly training for a full marathon, once a foot injury heals. And once international travelling opens up again, he’d like to visit Machu Picchu and explore more of Europe.
What do you love about Penticton?
In the meantime, Herman is loving life in Penticton, where he has been for the past six years. He has raced the Penticton Grand Fondo a couple of times and enjoys all the recreational activities the city has to offer.
“I love the weather and I really enjoy the athletic events that come here. The scale and quantity of events that we get here has always astonished me,” he said.
Why do you love Cowork?
“It was pretty soon after I had moved to Penticton that I found Cowork. I was looking for a place to work that wasn’t at home or a coffee shop. I enjoy the variety of people who come through Cowork through such varied skills and backgrounds – it’s pretty incredible.”
Hails from …
“I was born in Stettler, Alberta, lived in that area until I was eight, and kept moving north until a little town five hours north of Grande Prairie called La Crete. Dad was a teacher, so he moved there for an opportunity.”
Come see me about …
“Self-publishing, web design and wine.”
Something you might not know about me
“That I was a branch manager at ATB Financial. I managed two branches and 30 staff.”
Editor’s note: And if you haven’t been paying attention, Herman has just written his second novel.
Road cycling, running, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, writing and reading. Be sure to pick up his first book: Lies the Guardians Tell.