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Introducing new kid on the block

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Taber Times

Hello Taber and Vauxhall! My name is J.W. (Bill) Schnarr and I’m your new reporter.

By the time you read this, I’ll have already been stamped into a cog for the Taber Times and Vauxhall Advance, and I’m looking forward to get to know you all a little better over the weeks and months to come.

I came here to be closer to family, and to make you all the next exciting chapter in my journalism career. For the past 2.5 years, I was working with some awesome people at the Claresholm Local Press, tackling the news in Stavely, Granum, and Claresholm. When the opportunity to come to Taber popped up, I jumped at the chance.

I actually lived here for a few years as a kid in the late 1980s, but Taber has changed so much since then I barely recognize most of the town. Other things sort of look the same, but it takes a moment or two to make those old connections. If my name or face triggers some old memory in your brain, it is quite possible we knew each other once (and I may owe you an apology for some crappy kid-thing I did).

I’m a single dad with a daughter too-quickly approaching adulthood, and I spend a lot of my spare time in my other job-that of an indie horror writer.

In fact, I originally came into journalism looking for a way to improve on my writing skills, and I’ve found that the two work very well together. I have a very dark novel and two short story collections published, and I’ve been busy working on my second novel for the past two years.

My influences include Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, and Clive Barker. I try to keep busy with conventions through the summer and fall, and last year I was a local “celebrity” guest at the Calgary Horror Con. If you were at the first-ever Lethbridge Comic Con at the beginning of November, we may have already met.

I like science fiction, fantasy, and horror; love going to the movies; love reading. I’m also a pretty mean shut-down defenceman in online hockey. I’ve recently gotten back into comic books and I run a weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons with my daughter and nephews. I’m basically my same teenage self trapped in a plus-size adult body.

As far as journalism goes, I love just about every aspect of my job. I’ve covered national and provincial events, interviewed celebrities and important political figures, and won awards for my news coverage and feature writing. Sure, the pay pretty much ensures I’ll be eating no-name mac and cheese for the rest of my life, but it’s a very rewarding career and I’m looking forward to lots more mac and cheese in the future (bachelor tip: if you add no-name ketchup, it’s almost like spaghetti).

I plan on being here for a while, so please, by all means, if you see me out and about covering an event and taking photos, stop and say hello. I’m excited for the chance to tell your stories, and I promise to do my absolute best to always spell your names right.

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