Questions about my writing
Here I am in New Zealand doing two of my favourite loves--tenting and reading.
Have you always wanted to write?
I always has stories running round in my head. As a child, I would watch families at the local campground, giving them names and lives and adventures. When my own children were small I made up "silly stories" for them. But one winter, when the kids had grown, I wrote one down. And, surprise! surprise! I loved the writing, the editing and the whole doing of it. One manuscript became two, became three. Now I'm hooked.
How long does it take you to write a book?
To research and write the first rough draft takes from 6 months to a year. I then put that away to write or edit another manuscript ‒ so that when I come back to it I see mistakes and new possibilities. I do this several times until I think the draft is ready to go to a publisher. All that could take several years at least.
What age level do you prefer to write for?
While I have written some manuscripts for young children, mostly I prefer writing for middle graders.
Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere ‒ from my work life and family life, from snippets of conversations, from a magazine article or a news items. It's all fair game. And then the imagining begins.
What do you do for fun?
I like hiking and tenting, playing the harp, growing veggies, singing and doing yoga. Reading of course. And writing ‒ even that is fun or I wouldn't be doing it.
Do you enjoy doing readings?
I do enjoy meeting young readers and talking to classes.
Do you feel isolated as a writer?
Although the act of writing can be frustrating and lonely, I enjoy being a member of the Writers' Union of Canada, Children's Writers and Illustrators of BC, and the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I also get inspiration and support from my writing group.
What are your favourite children's books?
Here are some for for middle graders and YA I have particularly enjoyed.
Kate A. Boorman YA trilogy "Winterkill"
Deborah Ellis "Breadwinner" series.
Iain Lawrence, "Lord of the Nutcracker Men"
Jean Little, "Mama's going to buy you a Mockingbird."
Jill Maclean, The Nine Lives of Travis Keating" and "The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy."
John Marsden, "Tomorrow, when the war began"
Janet McNaughton, "Dragon Seer's Gift."
Susin Nielsen-Fernlund, Word Nerd."
Kit Pearson, "The Sky is Falling" and "A Handful of Time."
Mary C Sheppard, "One for Sorrow."