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 Vancouver, South Coast & Lower Mainland region
Where did you grow up, and does that place affect your writing?
I grew up in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. From my house, I could walk downtown, to the river, to school, to the creek and farmland near where my friends lived. Once, I even walked about ten miles to the ocean. It was a great place to grow up, and I always felt inspired by the natural environment and the local history.
Are any of your books set in BC?
Yes, many of my books are set in B.C. The area where I grew up continues to inspire my writing. I’ve written three historical fiction novels set on Vancouver Island, and I’m working on another one right now.
When did you know you wanted to write children’s books?
I got hooked on reading novels in grade five or six, and started wanting to write them about the same time. I remember trying to write a story about a group of kids (kind of like my friends and me) who went to summer camp (like the one I went to on Vancouver Island) and found a door into another world. Unfortunately, I never got past chapter two.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I get up and go to work in my home office. Usually, I spend the morning writing at my computer (my two cats keep me company). Then I have a break and often go on some kind of “mission.” (I take the bus or Skytrain somewhere — to do errands, story research, or just walk around and explore.) I always have a notebook with me to jot down story ideas, nature notes, interesting bits of overheard conversation, etc., and I always have my camera handy as well. I’m usually home about the same time my daughter gets home from school. In the evening I listen to an audio book or watch TV with my family. If I’m in the middle of working on a story, I’ll end up back at the computer before long — sometimes even getting up in the middle of the night to write.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’ve got a few different projects on the go, including a picture book set in Japan, a novel that takes place on Vancouver Island in the 1930s, and some short stories.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
When I was a kid I always wished I could fly. I had to ride my bike past a group of kids waiting for a school bus to a different school, and they used to throw things at me or try to poke sticks into my bike wheels (they did this to all the kids who went by). I wished I could fly high over their heads. I always loved it when I was lucky enough to fly in my dreams. If I chose a superpower now, though, I think it would be the ability to time-travel.