Some people paint, others dance or make music. My world has always been framed by story. From reading on my mother's lap to wearing out my library card, from writing (really bad) plays for my cousins to perform to creating books of my own, story has always been my lens on a consistently surprising world.
I grew up in Toronto, going on to study literature at Trinity College, University of Toronto. After attending the Toronto School of Storytelling, I began to tell stories orally, working for many years as a professional storyteller. I've shared tales at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, on radio and television, even in an Arabian harem and from inside a bear’s belly. But that’s another story.
My first book, Terror at Turtle Mountain (an account of Canada's deadliest rock slide) grew out of an oral tale. The idea was sparked by a student, who insisted that Canadian history was boring.
I was determined to prove otherwise.
Although I write largely for and about young people, the Disaster Strikes! series has a strong following of adult history lovers. The books have received numerous awards and are used widely in schools. I also write book reviews and travel articles, and am available for speaking engagements, classroom visits and workshops.
My home is currently in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (That's a view of my neighbourhood at the top of the page.) Living on a island means a lot of time on or near the sea, which is exactly where I want to be. When not writing, I can be found either balancing on my head in yoga class or zooming around on my scooter, which has taken me most of the way across Canada and the United States.
I cannot resist the next turn in the road, wherever it may lead!
I am a member of the following organizations that promote books and writing here in Canada and abroad:
- TWUC: The Writers' Union of Canada
- CANSCAIP: Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers
- CWILL BC: Childrens' Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia
- SCBWI: Society of Childrens' Book Writers and illustrators
And for more information on storytelling and the oral tradition in Canada, Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada is a useful resource.