We think British Columbia is a pretty special place to live and also a great place to create wonderful children’s literature. readBC is a series of short interviews introducing our readers to our authors and illustrators and their craft. Read the complete series here.
For a list of books created and set in British Columbia, visit this page.
Region: The Gulf Islands & Vancouver Island
Are any of your books set in B.C.?
My books highlight the mountains, the north and the Pacific Coast. I am an enthusiastic west-coaster and love BC! There is so much variety in our landscape, the places and the people. I have also lived in Alberta and the Yukon. I guess any place where you live becomes part of you and thus creeps into your writing!
What is one piece of advice, or one thing you wish you had learned earlier, about creating children’s books?
I wish there had been author visits to my school when I was in elementary school! That didn’t exist. It would have helped me to figure out that REAL people write books and that you can write for children. It took me a long time to learn how to submit stories to publishers. And I learned that you always have to work hard at selling and promoting your books. I wished someone had told me that it was such hard work and that it never gets any easier… But then, I wouldn’t have believed them and I would still have wanted to be a children’s book writer anyway!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Typically I don’t have any typical days! Every day is different and I never know what it will bring. I have a husband, grown children, a grandson, a dog, cats and chickens who all bring excitement along, any time. Besides being a writer, I run a booklovers’ B & B called Between The Covers on Salt Spring Island. Our guests come from all over the world. I also do a lot of school visits in North America and around the world. So, one day I might make waffles for breakfast, feed the chickens and gather eggs. Then I write or edit and rewrite.
Some days I write while flying on an airplane to China.
Other days I might be bringing books to children in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and riding a camel.
I love it. But sometimes I wish my life was just a little bit boring… Just sometimes!
Where do you do your work, and/or what’s on your desk?
I write on my laptop. Most often it sits on the desk in my room full of books. There are two lazy chairs and lots of books. Also a fireplace and the windows look out into the trees where quail and raccoons make their homes… There are piles of papers on my desk: some proofs for a new books, lots of pages that needs editing, the final proofs for a nature book, photos, a dictionary, a binder with all of my school visit schedules… A printer, a fax phone… a half empty bag of licorice… some letters and drawings from children. And lots of notes with new ideas for stories I should be writing!
What are your favourite procrastination techniques?
Making coffee first… then turning on a load of laundry.. then I need to phone someone… Oh, and I need more coffee. Did I turn on the dryer? I need to take something out of the freezer so we can eat tonight! Did I feed the dog? Wait! I have to get groceries before the store closes… I know a writer who has a piece of paper taped to the wall of her office that says “Shut up and write!” That’s what I need.
If you could take a children’s book character for ice cream, whom would you invite?
I would love to take Pippi Longstocking to our local icecream store. I would ask her to lift the horse we rode to the store, onto the porch. Then we would try all the different flavours before deciding on a waffle cone with dark chocolate and hazelnut. We would grin at each other and share stories about pirates while her monkey sat on my shoulder. I would invite her to stay with my family for a while until her father came back. And I’d write down the stories she tells me…