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 and Vancouver Island
Where did you grow up, and does that place affect your writing?
I spent much of my early life on an Ontario farm with lots of animals — cows, chickens, pigs, ducks… There was always lots going on to fascinate a young kid, things like farm markets, auctions, haying, country dancing, bringing in the animals for the winter… I wrote about farm life in a couple of my picture books, especially Brave Highland Heart.
Are any of your books set in BC?
Quite a few of my books are set in BC. Three of my novels have very local settings — The Whale’s Way is set in the Robson Bight/Quadra Island area. Both Witch’s Fang and Extreme Edge are set in the mountains in and around Whistler and Squamish. Skookum Sam, Spar Tree Man and Skookum Sal, Birling Gal are tall tale picture books, with many illustrations of B.C. forests and the characters that live and work there.
What is your favourite place in BC?
I have two favourite places in BC. Right here on Quadra Island, especially in my garden or out on the water in canoe or kayak. My other chosen place is Chilko Lake where our family has built a small log cabin.
If you were a BC fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
I’d have to choose a zucchini because you never know what they are going to do next. Leave them for a day and they might take over your garden. Like Jack and the Beanstock!
If you could take a children’s book character for ice cream, whom would you invite?
Definitely it would be the spider in E.B. White’s novel Charlotte’s Web. You might be so busy listening to her take on life that you’d forget all about that ice cream.