Where I come from…
I was born in Kingston, Ontario, to parents from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We moved
a lot, but visited my grandmother in Ingonish, Cape Breton, every summer.
reading, photography, decorating, vegan cooking
Two of my photos: I like shooting people, animals and city scenes.
“Do not adjust your mind; there is a fault in reality.”
My writing life began at age seven, in the army town of Oromocto, New Brunswick. I wrote my first poem while sitting on the doorstep with my mother and our dachshund, Rusty, looking up at the twilight sky. The poem was called “Oromocto at Night,” and I’m still addicted to summer evenings.
I believe the core of who we are holds true, even as our perspective changes. That’s what draws me to writing teen fiction. I think it helps us live our lives to the fullest if we keep track of who we were at seven—and seventeen.
As a child I moved a lot because of my father’s army postings. As an adult, I’ve lived in three Canadian cities: Halifax, where my daughter, Jeanna, grew up; Toronto, where I found great new friends and opportunities; and now Montreal, where I love the quirkiness and beauty of my neighbourhood on Plateau Mont-Royal.
I’ve held a number of jobs, including (in chronological order): chambermaid, newspaper reporter, documentation clerk at a container pier, freelance writer, library assistant, poetry instructor at a university, and freelance editor. The newspaper job was exciting; I was still in high school, and got to work on a lively and outspoken left-wing weekly. The container pier job was memorable too. I learned to drive using one of the company jeeps (during a union lock-out), doing figure-eights under the massive red and white cranes that dot the Halifax waterfront. The chambermaid job—my first—was among the toughest. I was a teenager with no experience in cleaning. And I was, and still am, quite a klutz.
Writing my first YA novel, Namesake, was also tough. Again, it was my first. And the story moves back and forth between 2012 and 1553—satisfying but challenging to write. Right now I’m finishing my second YA novel, a love story set in 2011 at Occupy Toronto.