Aug 05, 2020

Author brings his ‘ghost’ to Fresno State

Author Frank Bergon will be at Fresno State on Oct. 21
in the Alice Peters Auditorium where he will speak about
his new book.
Photo courtesy of Frank Bergon

Frank Bergon grew up in a family of storytellers and used these influences to develop his writing style. He writes about events that happen in places that he’s lived.

“I think the greatest influences on my writing were storytellers who I grew up with on a Madera ranch, especially my dad, who was a great story teller,” Bergon said.

His upcoming “California Trilogy” will begin with his new novel “Jesse’s Ghost.” The next book in the series will be a non-fiction piece containing essays about the San Joaquin Valley. This book, “Toughest Kid We Knew,” will be a non-fictional essay based on the facts of “Jesse’s Ghost.” The third will be a novel that takes place in California.

According to Bergon, “Jesse’s Ghost” which takes place in the San Joaquin Valley, is based on true events. The characters, Bergon revealed, are what he refers to as “composite characters.” This means that the characters are actually made up of several characters.

The release of “Jesse’s Ghost” has given Bergon a chance to speak at Fresno State. On Friday, Oct. 21 he will make an appearance at the Alice Peters Auditorium in the Peters Building.  This is the first time he will be speaking at Fresno State.

“I’m happy to be invited to Fresno State because ‘Jesse’s Ghost’ is a story about the central San Joaquin Valley, and several of the real events behind the story took place in Fresno, including the novel’s climatic murder,” Bergon said.

When asked if he gets nervous about speaking in front of an audience, Bergon had an interesting outlook.

“You never know.  In the past, it was unpredictable if I would get nervous or not. Strangely enough, the more people in the audience, the less nervous I would be,” Bergon said.

He went on to discuss how being a teacher for 33 years had helped him learn how to speak to an audience.

Bergon has done readings at different places. His favorite kind of place to hold a reading is  on college campuses.

“College students are the most responsive audience,” Bergon said.

Natalie Mulford is the marketing and publicity director of Heyday Books.  “Jesse’s Ghost” is the first of Bergon’s work that Heyday Books has published.  Natalie chose to hold the reading at Fresno State due to the fact the Fresno is major city in the San Joaquin Valley, where the story is based. She was also impressed by the master of fine arts (MFA) program’s creative writing department at Fresno State.

“We felt that the students would enjoy hearing from such an accomplished Valley writer,” Mulford said.

Cindy Wathen, a part-time staff member in Fresno in the English department, submitted the idea for Bergon to speak at Fresno State.  Tim Skeene, head of the MFA program, selected him and suggested Bergon to Wathen. Skeen was impressed by Bergon’s new book.

“‘Jessie’s Ghost’ adds to the Valley’s literary history by recreating in language its bygone places and times,” Skeen said.

Although Wathen has never read any of his books, she is a fan.  Wathen was more than happy to about Bergon’s works for those who have never read them.

“He is entertaining, and has a lovely style of writing,” she said.

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