Author Bio

Sandi AltnerI am a writer, Titanic fanatic, and former television news reporter with a keen interest in social history, art forgery, and anything I can read about life in America’s Gilded Age.

I am currently finishing a new novel called Waiting to Be Found, that tells the story of a famous “unassailable” masterpiece in America that I think is a fake.

My first novel, Ravenscraig was published by Heartland Associates of Winnipeg and was launched on November 29, 2011 to an amazing response at the McNally Robinson book store. I self-published outside of Canada and am very pleased and deeply thankful at the reader response. And yes there is a sequel in the works.

Family History

Every time I tell someone about Ravenscraig, it inevitably leads to their telling me about how their families came to Canada or the United States. It seems there is an ever growing interest in genealogy and family histories and I am very appreciative of  the many stories people tell me about how Ravenscraig has inspired them to learn more about their own family stories.

Family history and stories about those early years in the “new country” have always been of great interest to me. My family is Ukrainian Canadian, and I am a fifth generation descendent of the first group of 27 Ukrainian pioneer families that came to Manitoba to farm in 1896. We are, to this day, “peasant stock” as my mother proudly claims.

1958 Margaret Sandi stroller
My sister Margaret and me

I was born and raised in Winnipeg, and enjoyed a long and exciting career in television and radio news in Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal. I feel greatly privileged to have had a “front row seat”, microphone in hand, to tell the stories of the newsmakers of the day, from homeless people, to captains of industry, to just plain decent people doing good things in the world. Well, and to be honest, to tell a great many stories about people who were not to be admired. Overall, I loved being in news and have a great respect for my friends who continue to work in the media.

I am also a Jew by choice, which came about, in large part, through my years of research into the history of Winnipeg’s Jewish community and the natural path I found to study Judaism.

I invite your comments and questions, and hope that I can connect you to information that you find inspiring, interesting or perhaps a sought-after missing piece of your own history.

Thanks for stopping by.

Katiana and her Baba, October, 2010

By the way, for those from Winnipeg, my mom, Mary Krawchenko, (seen here with my daughter, Katiana) is someone you might remember as Mrs. K.
She started a very popular business in 1970, making pizzas and perogies. My dad, Carl Krawchenko, of blessed memory, owned Frontier Meat and Packing Ltd, then later, Carl Krawchenko Equipment Co., and was a partner in Superior Cheese.

20 thoughts on “Author Bio

  1. Hi Sandi,

    Great to see you have a new blog going and that you’re promoting your fantastic book. It’s got to be published. Don’t give up. Something titanic going on in Winnipeg now. See the email I just sent you.

    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    -16 degrees C (I’m sure you don’t miss that)

  2. Penny Peterson

    It’s wonderful to hear about the journey you’ve taken as you wrote your book. I look forward to reading it myself, and reconnecting to the city of my birth.

    Phoenix, AZ

  3. John Dyson

    Hello — I am an established writer in London and I am trying to trace direct descendants of Robert Fortune, the plant hunter. A reference on the internet suggests you have been doing something similar and I wondered if you could give me some contacts, preferably in UK.
    Many thanks

  4. Hi Sandi, Thanks for your kind comments about my blog. Ravenscraig is a wonderful spot and if you’re ever across the Atlantic you should visit. I’m sure you’d love Fife and Edinburgh. Best wishes with your writing. Richard

  5. Hi Sandi, I loved reading Chapter 8 on your website. Mr great-grandfather was Cyril Genyk. You gave him a very nice demeanor. He came down to California around 1915 and purchased land for his daughter, Eugenie, and her husband, Charles Jones, in Goleta. He had been searching in Oakland for a place to start a commune and had even filed a Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen. He went back and stayed in Winnipeg dying there in 1925. Eugenie and Charles Jones raised walnuts and 10 children on the Goleta land. My father was the first born. The two youngest are still living in the Goleta area. I hope your book is published now so that I can buy it.
    Best Regards, Dorothy

  6. Hi Sandi:
    I just caught your comments regarding my book and artwork on Facebook and wanted to stop in say thanks for the kind words. I have always had a fascination with the Titanic and were the lottery gods to shine on me it would be on my bucket list of wrecks to see before I die.

    I wish you great success with Ravenscraig.

    If you need anything, you know where to find me.

  7. Bill Harcott

    Hi Sandi,
    I spoke with your mother this morning and she gave me you contact. Congratulations on getting the book for launch on the 29th I beleive. Looking forward to getting a copy to read.It brings back so many wonderful memories of those ealry years nd the difficulties they had to face. Will get in touch with you soon. All the best with Ravenscraig.
    Love, cousin Bill

    1. Luba Fedorkiw


      Just finished reading your novel. Increadibly compelling. Will there be a sequel on the second generation? This is a novel that could be taught in high school.
      Luba Fedorkiw

      1. Thank you, Luba. I’m not sure what I will be writing next but I am very interested in the women’s suffrage movement in Manitoba. So glad you liked Ravenscraig. I am hoping to include talks with students and book clubs when I next visit Winnipeg. Let me know if this would be of interest to you.
        Best regards,

  8. I do remember your work at CFCF-12. I also write but not what you do. Theology and op-ed pieces on geo-political things as they affect the Middle East/world. Perhaps you would meet my colleague John Plantz who lives in the Winnipeg area. Send an e-mail if you wish.
    Shalom/Ron Grossman-Ottawa

  9. Ken

    Hi Sandi!
    Well, I guess I should say “Mazel Tov!”
    Congratulations on the book. Gracey mentioned you had shown up.
    It’s great to see you’re doing well.
    Lots to talk about — too much for here.
    When I saw the title, I thought it was about Ravenscrag in Montreal — the Gothic mansion on the mountain near where I did my Montreal downtown, magic-hour standups. Someone could set a story there; it has such a deliciously creepy feel to it. Didn’t the CIA brain-washing experiments take place around there?
    So, I gather Ravenscraig is an actual building/district in Winnipeg.
    I remember talking about your family’s pierogi (pizza, too??) business and all the fun we had at Pulse.
    So you’ve joined Bill as an author.
    Again, congratulations.


  10. Lea Frame

    Hi Sandi:
    Thank you for coming to the Dugald Library and talking about your book, and the life of your family. It was a wonderful evening!
    Did you know Ravenscraig was on the McNally Robinson top five bestsellers for two weeks in April? Well-deserved for such a wonderful book.
    All the best to you (and your Mom) – Lea Frame

    1. Thank you, Lea! It was great fun. I so appreciate that so many people came out to talk about the reality of life in Winnipeg 100 and more years ago. It is wonderful to see so many people interested in sharing their stories about their own family history.

      I look forward to visiting your group again one day!

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