Frequently Asked Questions
Because the masses have demanded it, the dreaded Frequently Asked Question Section. This one is for all of you lovelies who are slogging over book reports. May you all get sparkly top marks!
When did you start writing?
As soon as I could! I made a book in grade one that was put into the town library. You could even sign it out! It was about a butterfly, and that’s about all I remember about it. I have kept a few stories from elementary school. They are mostly tragic, with characters full of angst and desperation. Like the one where the girl’s beloved older brother was run over and killed by their drunk father in front of her.
Who is your favourite writer?
I absolutely cannot pick just one. How about a dinner party of them, starting with Louise Fitzhugh, who wrote “Harriet the Spy,” and dear old E. B. White. I also love Jaqueline Woodson, and Philip Pullman. Raymond Carver is my short story God. Sara Waters is my British crush. I bow down on a regular basis to the miracle that is Alice Munro. I also adore Minette Walters, Francesca Lia Block, Robertson Davies, Sharon Creech, Dorothy Allison, and the handsome brains of Roald Dahl, Kevin Henkes, Chris Rashka, Ezra Jack Keats and Maurice Sendak . I would like all of these people, living or dead, to come to my house for a Sunday roast. I think we’d all get along swimmingly.
What is your favourite book?
Of all time? “Harriet The Spy”, without a doubt. Followed shortly by “Where I’m Calling From” by Raymond Carver.
Did you get bullied in school?
Sure did. A brainy, chubby, four-eyed dreamer who’s always the new kid tends to attract that type of thing. School is not for everybody. I left in grade eleven and finished by correspondence. Best thing I ever did when it came to my education.
Do you have any advice for young writers?
Read. Read everything. And then read some more. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. And hone your spy skills. Observe everything. Take notes. Go places you’re not supposed to, and eavesdrop on conversations you have nothing to do with. Steal the shiny bits from people’s lives and spin them into fiction. Get out in the world and live, even if it scares you to death. You won’t have anything to write about if you don’t. Lastly, and most importantly, write.
Will you read this amazing thing that I wrote?
I’d love to, but I simply can’t. If I did, I wouldn’t get any of my own writing done! Find other writers and start a writer’s group, where you share your writing and give each other honest, constructive criticism.
I think your books would make great movies. Will they be made into movies?
I hope so! I’d love to see my stories on the big screen. “The Beckoners” was optioned for film, but hasn’t been made into a movies yet. I think “The Gryphon Project” would be awesome as a movie too. So would the Triskelia series. They feel like movies to me already, being that that’s how I see them in my head. It’d be better if they were real movies though, because then there would be popcorn.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere! I’m always on the look out for story ideas. News items, weird stories people tell me, dreams, my imagination, things I see and experience. There’s a story in just about every moment of the day! All you have to ask yourself is, “What if?” What if you got car jacked? What if there was a world where the weather could be controlled? What if you could be brought back from the dead? And then the story begins …
I heard that you’re a paramedic. Why?
I would become a very unpleasant crazy person if I was allowed to lock myself in a room and write all day, only taking breaks to drink coffee, eat bon bons and read library books. It is a very good thing that I am forced to go out into the real world and see things that inspire me, meet people who tell me the most incredible stories while they’re strapped onto the stretcher in the back of the ambulance, and am constantly reminded that life is short and is best lived doing what brings you joy and satisfies your curiosity.