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Author Jorgenson making return to Fairmont

Nathan Jorgenson

Former Fairmont resident and author Nathan Jorgenson will visit Sterling Drug from 1-3 p.m. Saturday to promote his newest book, “Contrapasso.”

Jorgenson grew up nearby in Jackson. He and his wife, Terry, settled down and lived in Fairmont for about 30 years, with Jorgenson operating a dental practice. The couple raised three children here, all of whom attended Fairmont schools. The family moved up north around 2012.

“We live in a tiny town called Nevis,” Jorgenson said. “There’s 50 nice fishing lakes within about 20 miles of us. We both always wanted to live here.”

Semi-retired, Jorgenson still sees patients as a dentist two days per week, but he found a new way to connect with people — through stories.

Jorgenson admits he never had an interest in writing, much less of becoming an author.

“I was always the storyteller,” he explained.

What brought him to writing was his father’s decline in health in 2001.

“I’d go sit by his bedside in the nursing home and read to him. And then I thought I would read to him something that I wrote so I started writing a story,” Jorgenson said.

Unfortunately, his father passed away when Jorgenson was on page 30. However, he ended up finishing the story.

“Two things happened. I got some closure with my dad, who was my best friend, and I rediscovered the written language. If you write things the way you say them, it doesn’t sound right. But when you put them down on paper, you have to make it come off the page the way you want to. I thought it was kind of fun,” Jorgenson explained.

He found a lot of joy in writing. He said he actually knew the end of the story in the beginning but wasn’t sure how to get there, but enjoyed the process.

When he finished the first book, “Waiting for White Horses,” in 2004, he decided to get it published and ended up winning the Benjamin Franklin Award for best new voice in fiction.

“That was kind of a big deal. Then we started selling a lot of books,” Jorgenson said.

He had not considered writing a second book but then a fishing buddy of his said, ‘Anyone can write one book, but can you do another one?’ So Jorgenson began working on his second novel, “The Mulligan,” which came out in 2007.

“I had always wanted to write about dental school, so I combined a story of dental school and amateur baseball and that was ‘A Crooked Number,'” Jorgenson said of his third novel, which was published in 2011.

Jorgenson then took a few years off from writing during which he and his wife built a house and got settled in. He is back to writing nearly full time now.

“I have a chance to do more reading now too, which makes it easier to write. If you’re going to be a writer you need to like words. If I have more time to read, it opens more interest in writing,” Jorgenson explained.

When he is not seeing patients, reading or writing, Jorgenson spends a great deal of time outdoors. He is a trout fisherman and a deer hunter.

He also enjoys attending book-signings, and speaking at library get-togethers and other events in nearby states. Jorgenson said what gives him the greatest satisfaction as a writer is knowing he has connected with a reader.

His latest novel, “Contrapasso,” came out last month. It has been doing well so far and Jorgenson said the first printing is nearly out, so more books are being ordered.

He said he is looking forward to being back in Fairmont this weekend.

“It will be fun to come back and see some familiar faces,” Jorgenson said.

His four novels can be found in nearly every bookstore, including at large stores such as Barnes & Noble, and on Amazon, though Jorgenson said he really enjoys selling them out of small coffee shops and gift shops.

Jorgenson summed up his novels by saying, “They’re about life. They’re stories about love and death and loss and redemption.”

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