Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Minnesota writer Fredrick Soukup's latest novel is 'Ashes, Ashes'

Local author Fredrick Soukup smiles.
Joseph Dammel
Fredrick Soukup, originally from Pequot Lakes, has a new novel.

Fredrick Soukup’s third novel, “Ashes, Ashes,” draws from childhood memories of his parents fostering children in need in Pequot Lakes.

Fredrick Soukup wasn't an avid reader as a child, nor did he have any plans to become an author.

As a kid he had other dreams.

"I wanted to play for the Vikings, but, I mean, I'm like 5"6, so it wasn't happening."

Instead, Soukup studied philosophy at St. John’s University, and by the time he graduated in 2010, he knew he wanted to be a writer.

A book cover with a black background with wispy ash in the air and two gold leaves falling.
"Ashes, Ashes" is Fredrick Soukup's third novel.

Novel ideas from real life

His new novel, Ashes, Ashes, draws from Soukup’s experiences in a home where his parents took care of over 60 foster children during a seven year period, starting when he was five years old.

"It was really a formative experience for me. Just getting to see a variety of different backgrounds for kids," he explained, "those experiences kind of led me to a lot of reflections over the years and developed into a story concept that I've put into the novel."

Soukup said his own family's experience with the foster system was mainly positive, but for the sake of the story, he felt the focus should be on the caste system that evolves.

"There's no one really to vouch for you," he explained, saying kids can be pretty mean.

The novel is told over different time periods from several perspectives. The story unfolds when two foster brothers, now adults, reunite after their foster mother's sudden and mysterious death.

Other work

The sense of place is strong in Soukup’s writing. His previous novel, Blood Up North, takes place in Backus, Minnesota, while Ashes, Ashes is set in the Brainerd Lakes area.

Soukup was a recent guest on the KAXE Morning Show. When asked about the publishing process, he explained he thought his first novel would be published after a few months. It ended up taking ten years. But now, he feels like he’s hit a bit of a groove, publishing a novel every two years.

He said, "I hope to keep up that trajectory. But you know, it's just a lot of rejection and going back to the drawing board saying, ‘Well, how do I need to improve to get this done?’”

Soukup's next project is a bit lighter than Ashes, Ashes.

"It was really a formative experience for me. Just getting to see a variety of different backgrounds for kids."
Author Fredrick Soukup, on the inspiration for his latest book based on his experience growing up with parents who fostered over 60 kids.

“It's about a guy who wakes up from a coma and finds out...this doesn't sound light...but he realized he was the victim of an assault, and he sets out to befriend his assailant,” Soukup said. He feels that themes of forgiveness and redemption can really resonate with people.

Ashes, Ashes will be released on April 16. Find more at Fredrick Soukup’s website.

Listen to the full conversation from the KAXE Morning Show above.

Stay Connected