For this book it started off as my lap on a short train ride. The best spot to sit was on the step near the door. Since then my desk's developed into a very sociable table on what I think must be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world.
When did you start writing?
Just after my Grade 1 teacher took my pencil out of my left had and convinced me I'd be happier right-handed. I started off with writing poetry for my parents, but the first money I earned from writing was a prize in an essay competition when I was about 12 or 13. I used it to buy a pair of ice skates I still have.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first one, but my childhood favourites were The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Since I read them I've never stopped seeing magic in life. I'm definitely going to see the movie when it comes out!
What's the story behind your latest book?
When I was little, bedtime stories were an enchanting brew of fairy tales, scripture stories, made-up-as-you-go-alongs, old-style books (Dad liked Billy Bunter) - and stories about our family. My family was a story waiting to be written - especially my father. We seemed normal to one another but I guess some people would think we're a bit eccentric. As we grew up we passed stories on to visitors and friends, and many of them said, "You should write a book!" So I did., but It expanded to include friends, acquaintances, and people from the community. It's called A Pocketful of Problems.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love writing about "ordinary" people, who actually aren't - the sort of people who won't be featured in a history book or have huge followings on social media but have extraordinary stories. Everyone has a story, and I get a real kick out of discovering what it is and giving them credit.
What are you working on next?
I'll wait to see how people respond to A Pocketful of Problems. I do have a collection of children's stories, though - one is almost finished, the others are in various stages of being born.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
For 40 or so hours a week I'm a dreamweaver. People come with their past (usually with their fair quota of mistakes, as we all do), their present (mostly less than ideal) and their future dreams (practical or not) and I have to weave them together in a way that will help people get where they want to go. Officially I'm called a student support advisor, but that really doesn't do justice to the job.
Of course I'll never retire from being a wife and mom, with four grown-up children including twins. And of course we're all staff to the family cat, Sir Alfred Redbottom.
Hobbies? I enjoy tracing my family history or playing my little yellow ukulele.
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