My world has always been filled with books and words, and I have been fortunate to have worked as a writer, researcher, instructor and library assistant for most of my adult life.
From the time I was little girl I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved writing, but reading wasn’t something I always enjoyed. In fact, when I was an elementary school student, I hated reading! I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I think it was because I wasn’t a very good reader. In today’s world I probably would have been labeled a reluctant reader. So, I chose to dislike it, instead of embracing it. It wasn’t until my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. D, gave me a copy of Charlotte’s Web, that I fell in love with reading! From that moment on I was hooked. E.B. White’s novel took me to a wondrous world, where a pig, a spider and a little girl could be friends. At last, I had become a reader and I’ve been reading and writing ever since.
Once I’d finished school I knew I wanted to work somewhere that I could be surrounded by books, art, and music. Somewhere with people who enjoyed the arts as much as I did. I began my career with the Toronto Public Library in 1984. It was the perfect place for a writer to work and be inspired.
Around the same time, my writing career began in the newspaper and magazine industry as a journalist. My work has appeared in numerous publications across North America. I’ve written over 2,000 columns and articles for periodicals such as Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Cottage Life, City Parent, Good Times, Now Magazine and many others.
Something I discovered about myself very early on in my writing career was that I loved to find out how things worked. I wanted to know the who, what, where, when, and how of the world around me. I began to do research work for educational publishers. Before long, I was being asked to write short stories and articles for educational anthologies. Soon, I was writing for children from grade 2 to grade 12! I wrote about all kinds of subjects, from the world’s best roller-coasters, to how to handle your parents divorce, to crime solving. It was great fun and I learned a lot. That’s the wonderful thing about writing: it teaches you about the world and about yourself. I never say never when it comes to writing about a something I don’t know anything about. I know that by researching, I can find out what I need to know and become somewhat of a expert on the subject - if only for a little while. It’s great to learn right along with your readers!
During this time I kept developing my own ideas for books I’d like to write one day. Eventually, I published my first book for adults in 1996 and soon found my niche in the children’s trade market. My first children’s book was published in 2004. Today I have 10 titles to my credit and my work has been translated into 5 different languages.
In addition to my writing, I teach an adult writing course, “Creating Non-fiction for Children”, at George Brown College in Toronto. I also keep a very busy author visit schedule throughout the year. My visits take me across Canada, to audiences in classrooms from elementary to high school age.
My home, where I do most of my writing, is in Richmond Hill, Ontario. I live there with my husband and our three children, along with numerous pets including a Jack Russell terrier named Dorothy, two African frogs called Bauer and Easton, and a cat named Einstein.