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
Where did you grow up, and does that place affect your writing?
I grew up in Victoria. Although I don’t write specifically about Victoria, I grew up enjoying the outdoors, especially the beach, and this is still a part of my life and my writing. I often write about nature and science, and my first book for children was about the ocean. I also enjoy writing about history though. I think it helps that my father was an archivist, which is sort of like a librarian crossed with a historian.
If you could take a children’s book character for ice cream, whom would you invite?
Oh, I would love to spend a day or two with Pippi Longstocking and her monkey. I wonder what flavour she’d choose?
What’s a typical day like for you?
I get up early, often between 5:30 and 6. I try to get some exercise in, perhaps yoga or a walk, but sometimes I just make a cup of coffee or tea and read a few blogs I enjoy. My children get up at 6:30 as they have to catch the school bus early, but the house is quiet again by 7:30 or so. I usually try to get right to work, first getting rid of “the boulders” — the big projects that I really need to be completed by the end of the day — and then I just plow through my To Do List, which is usually very long. I try to finish work by 3 pm or so and then go for another walk or run, perhaps to beach, before making dinner and preparing for family time.
What are you working on now?
I’m just finishing a book for adults on the history of Long Beach, which is right near my home in Tofino. I’m working on a few ideas for children’s books, but nothing is firmed up quite yet. And, of course, editing KNOW magazine keeps me busy.
Where do you do your work, and/or what’s on your desk?
I have a very nice office with purple walls (my favourite colour). Today my desk is fairly clean, but it has my laptop computer, several stacks of paper and books (one for each project; there are lots more on the floor and on my other desk, too!), some hand cream, a lamp, a bottle of multivitamins, miscellaneous office supplies (lots of pads of paper and sticky notes) and lots of notes stuck here and there with fortunes (“Your efforts will be well rewarded. Be patient.”), quotes (“It’s not how old you are, but how you are old.”) and little letters from my children written when they were young. (Two of my favourites: “You are my love bird.” and “I ned help.” – yes, with that spelling. To which I’ve responded, “Me too.”)
What are your favourite procrastination techniques?
Believe it or not, cleaning. My friends always know when I have a deadline because my house is a lot cleaner.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
I am going to steal this from my young friend, Toby, who said she would like to be “Metamorphosis Girl” with the power to change mean people into nice ones. I think that is a fine idea. Perhaps I could be Metamorphosis Girl’s sidekick?