What do you read for pleasure?
I love the classics; Dickens, Eliot, the Brontes - they are like comfort food for me. At the same time I'm inspired by the modern novelists that look at some of the same situations I'm interested in - so Michael Crummey, Wayne Johnston and others from the east coast of Canada really wow me.
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Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I started out on the east coast of Canada, in Nova Scotia, but our family moved to Ontario when I was quite young, so did most of my growing up in Toronto. I believe that my greatest influence came, not so much from the geography, but from the heritage. My family is Dutch and I was raised in the way they grew up, with some modifications specific to the times. At the same time, I do think that the multi-cultural aspect of Toronto has served to show me varying perspectives and given me a love for being with all kinds of people - especially when it is time to eat.