Question: Where do you get your ideas from?

I get my ideas from everywhere. Ideas sometimes just pop into my head and I write them down and put them in my 'idea file'. Sometimes, I hear someone talking and if I like the idea I record it. I often clip out newspaper and magazine articles that interest me. At the time, I don't know if I will ever use the idea, but even years later when I am sifting through my 'idea file' I just might put these ideas into a book.

Question: Why do you write historical fiction books?

I find historical fiction fascinating. By combining history with fiction, my protagonists are forced to do things and overcome tremendous obstacles that they never would have had to do under normal circumstances.

Question: How often do you write?

I write every day. Writing takes self discipline and writers need to work every day in order to succeed. That said, writing is a vocation that I love. It is my career, and my passion.

Question: Why do you write children's books?

I love writing children's books because they have adventures, journeys and quests; because each one has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I am an avid reader of children's literature. I find that children's books transport me out of the ordinary.

Question: Do you get nervous talking in front of a group?

I started my career as an actress, acting on television, in stage plays and in film. I enjoyed performing, but I found the periods between gigs frustrating because I had no venue to release my creativity. When I became pregnant with my first child, I started to write. I found that this gave me a creative outlet every day.

Once I was published, I was able to combine my past career as an actress with my present career as a writer. My experience from both fields gives me the confidence to talk, present and perform before audiences.

I love it!

Question: Are all your presentations the same?

Absolutely not! I adjust my material, my presentation style, and even background music to the audience. Every group is different. What works with one class will not work with another.

As soon as I get before a group, I get a sense of what is working, and what isn't. I use my experience as a professional actress to engage the audience and encourage their participation.

I change gears quickly, if my initial approach isn't going over, and find another means of involving my audience.

Question: Is research boring?

No way! Research is exciting. I pick topics that interest and motivate me to learn more about the subject. I am like a sponge, I want to learn everything possible about what I am writing about. The boring stuff, I toss away, but the facts that grab me, I keep and use in my books.

Research is not just an exercise in reading, internet searching and telephone interviews. I also do research in the real world: I travel to places to get a sense of location, touch and feel.

My field research has taken me to parks with bears, to marshes with blue herons, to the ocean with huge waves and huge whales, and to the Bay of Fundy with the highest tides in the world.

Research is fun.

Question: What's your favourite book?

That's almost like asking a mother, who is your favourite child? When I work on a book, I am passionate about it and totally absorbed in it. For each book that I write, I give my best effort and attention. When the book comes out, I call it "My new baby". I am thrilled to see it in print, but I still love my other books just as much. I can't play favourites with my children!

Question: Do you get writer's block?

Yes. Every writer has days when the writing is not working. What do I do? I never just sit looking at a blank page. I have a number of techniques to get my creative juices flowing. At those times, I edit my material to keep things moving and to get back "into" the book. I read sections out loud, a technique that is helpful to find out if the dialogue works. I even go for walks, and often, when my mind is not focused on the writer's block, an idea comes to me and I rush back to my computer to write it down.

Question: Do you have a writers' group?

Yes. My writers' group is a wonderful sounding board to test out my material. They are colleagues who help me see things in my story that I have overlooked. My writers' group is supportive; we encourage each other when things are tough, and we celebrate our successes in getting new books published.

Question: What writing organizations do you recommend?

All of the writing organizations that I've listed on my contact page are helpful. For children's writing, I find the monthly meetings and networking through CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers) to be most beneficial.