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."