The rest of grade one was traumatic. Our teacher had a breakdown after her husband died; she was replaced with a teacher named Mrs. Head who had one arm, and I was admonished for talking at the water fountain, lest I should deprive others of hydration. I suspect I was regaling my friend Tina with my grade one wit. And don’t even get me started about getting kicked out of the boot room at recess when it was -30 below. Seems that early tumult prepared me for life as a writer, which at times can be unpredictable, devoid of humour, and cold. And that’s just the fun bits; I’m not even talking about rewriting. The year must have gone well because this is what my teacher wrote on my report card: “I am very pleased with the interest she has taken in library books.”
Weekends of my childhood meant ballet class followed by a malted milk at Woodwards, and the library. I was a voracious reader and was shocked to learn there was a limit to the number of books one could take out a week. It was something ridiculous like 20 books, but we Sagittarians don’t like limits.
Here’s a picture of me, in my parents living room, looking like I’m on my way to my first book reading. That was probably my best hair day ever.
My favourite books as a child were the “Curious George” series by Margret and H.A. Rey and the “Madeline” series by Ludwig Bemelmans. When I was older it was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read every “Nancy Drew” mystery and swapped books with my childhood friend Sandy.
I spent nearly a decade working in broadcast and print journalism. In my late twenties I traveled for two years through Europe, Africa, and Asia, and freelanced for radio broadcast outlets including the CBC, BBC, and an Aboriginal radio station.
I completed a Master of Arts, Social/Cultural Anthropology in 2002 and did my research among the members of the Peigan Nation in southern Alberta. In addition to writing fiction for children, I write creative non-fiction and have had personal essays published in the Globe and Mail and WestWord.