I enjoy authors who are strong story tellers. These include Roberston Davies, Agatha Christie, James Heriot, A.A. Milne, and Michael Bond.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Working on my next project. It may be an idea for a new book, video ,or a painting.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing, I like to paint, photograph wildlife, and cook. I also volunteer at our church's clothing store.
Describe your writing process.
I begin with the illustrations. I use my photos from my travels as inspiration. For The Adventures of Lucy the Lynx, I used photos of a family of lynx living at the Montreal BioDome,t to create the family. Aunt Maude's travels are based on my travels to Alaska. For Tiger Tom Finds a New Song, I was fortunate to be able to base him on a real person. Tom Franek, who is a gifted pianist and entertainer is the "real Tiger Tom". Tom can do amazing things when it comes to playing a piano. Also a talented dancer and singer. Tiger Tom's adventures are based on my travels last winter to South America. Once you have have a strong character then the story can start to take shape. Then you can pay around with the various scenarios, and adventures the character could have.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I cannot remember the first story that I read, since it has been many years that I have been a young girl. But I do remember my mother reading the Night Before Christmas. She read it, and made it come alive for me. I could see the reindeer landing on the roof, and Santa coming down the chimney. The story has rhythm and pace, which is important in writing a short story for a child.
How do you approach cover design?
I am very lucky to have two people who handle the graphic design for my ebooks, and my print books. The art work is by me. The cover should convey the essence of the story. The central character should be on the cover, and should have a engaging look which invites the reader to join in the adventure.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favourite books are: Wind in the Willows, The Camerons, and Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy which includes the Fifth Business, The Manticore, and the World of Wonders. What they all have in common, is that they all have strong characters, and are great sagas.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read nonfiction. I like reading books about explorations and travels. I have just finished reading Ken McGoogan's trilogy on the Franklin expedition. His revisionist views on Franklin are refreshing. I have learned a lot about Dr. John Rae, who was the person who found the Northwest Passage.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was raised on a farm in the Ottawa Valley. We always had plenty of pets. My sister would rescue, birds and snakes, and try to smuggle them into the house. This is probably why I enjoy writing animal stories, rather than writing about humans.
When did you first start writing?
I worked in an academic world and studied law for many years. My fiction writing very recent. I did not start writing until 4 years ago.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy is coming up with new twists and turns in my plots. I like to be able to surprise my readers with the unexpected.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am not expecting to have fans. What I am hoping for are readers who enjoy my stories and can give positive feedback. Writing and illustrating are solitary pursuits. One needs encouragement to know that one is on the right track.
What are you working on next?
I have just released my latest book which is a mystery for children. It is called Fiona Flying Fox Special Agent and the Mystery at the Rainbow Zoo. I am now working on two projects. The working titles are What do Teddy Bears Eat, and Buffy's Big Cat Door.
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