Author-Publisher Kenneth Fenter of Arborwood Press
Kenneth Fenter lived on a farm in southwestern Colorado during the 1940s and ‘50s, roamed the canyons of Summit Ridge, searched for bee trees and Indian ruins and attended Montezuma County High School where the novels The Ruin, The Bee Tree, and their sequel Pivotal Times are set.
In 1977 Fenter and his wife Lora took the family to Japan to teach English as a second language. In fact they were there as speaking models to students who were learning English from middle school on, but who had never heard English spoken other than on Sesame Street. In 1985 he published the first of three books on that experience in the non-fiction series of books under the heading An American Family in Japan—Gaijin! Gaijin!; Mo Ichido: Once More; and Suteindo Gurasu: Stained Glass. All of his books deal with cross-cultural situations. Those were published under Fenter's imprint Cross Cultural Press.
Fenter was approached by several other authors to publish their Cross Cultural experiences in Japan, China and living experiences abroad as well as a book on Senryu a poetry similar to Haiku.
The novel writing phase of Fenter's writing career began after his retirement from secondary school teaching in 1998.
The first published novel: The Ruin appeared in 2008 and each section features memories of his last week of teaching during which a school shooting occurred at his sister school in 1998.
As a high school language arts teacher for nearly 30 years, Fenter worked with students struggling with issues ranging from dating, bullying, culture religion, mental illness, illiteracy, keeping up with the changing times, social issues and learning styles. All are addressed in The Ruin, The Bee Tree, and Pivotal Times, although these novels are not autobiographical.
After The Ruin there have been five more novels, with one appearing each year. Gifted Hands followed Pivotal Times, taking off where PT left off, but featured the older brother and could stand alone as a novel. It is a mature novel, taking the older brother Charlie back to Japan. Fenter even features his family in a cameo role in that book which takes place in the late '70s. The first three novels can appeal to the young adult reader as well as older readers. Coronado's Gold, the fifth novel, returns to the characters in the first three books, the kids on Summit Ridge. It was written or all audiences.
Book six is written with the most mature themes off the six books. The first draft was written by Fenter in the summer of 1976. As with all of his books, the first draft is a slim story that has most of the story and is heavy on the technical details but is sketchy on the character development. There is enough in the rough draft to make the story work but the succeeding drafts fill out the character development, back stories, and the nitty, gritty that make the story into a full working novel.
Fenter knew at the time that he had a story but that it would require an extended time to bring it into fruition. By that time he had been teaching 13 years, advising both a high school newspaper and yearbook and for a short time running a full fledged print shop in the school and was ready to take a break. Fenter asked for a leave of absence and received permission if he could find a semester replacement. Fenter actually found an out of work journalism teacher who was willing to work a semester while he was looking for a job. Nothing had been put into place for Fenter, however.
Then the Fenter family hosted their first Japanese teacher who planted the idea of Ken and Lora going to Japan to teach. Ken put the novel on the shelf where it languished for 38 years. The novel with the name Incessant Expectations became available on Amazon.com on September 10, 2014.
Kenneth and Lora now live in Bend, Oregon.