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.
What was the inspiration for "Just a Kid"?
Many adults and young people feel helpless in the face of the daily news crises and about climate change in particular. It's easy to sit back and do nothing. But people can make a positive difference in their community by their own actions. Big or small, they all add up. I want Meerin to be a role model to others, to show that determination to make a change in the world can bring success. And hope.
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."