Welcome to my website. Please check back often if you share my passion for creative writing (picture books, YA novels, poetry and adult short stories), reading (fiction and non-fiction–all ages), and any other subject about which I muse on this blog.
Although I’ve written a number of stories and poems for adults, my main focus has been that of writing for children and teens. (You may have guessed this already if you’ve scanned my Favourite Links to the right.)
Not surprisingly, the places I’ve lived in the past have informed both my worldview and my writing. In particular, growing up in Japan between the ages of eight and eighteen meant that by the time my family returned to our home country–Canada–I’d spent half my life in that country, a period split into two terms by my parents’ twelve month furlough in Kingston, Ontario. This is why, like many others who share a similar background, I occasionally self-identify as an “adult third culture kid” (ATCK); or, more recently, as an “adult cross-cultural kid” (ACCK). For a frequently used explanation of these phrases, and my personal take on the meaning of them, click here to learn more about “cross-cultural kids”, first described by sociologist and researcher Ruth Useem in the 1950s as “third culture kids”.
When applying to be mentored by a published author a few years ago, I was required to write an essay in response to several questions, including the following: When did you first become interested in the craft of writing? As a nine-year-old flipping through my very first school yearbook (Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan) I unexpectedly came across a poem I’d written in Grade III. Seeing my own words there–typeset by a professional printer with my name beneath them–made a lasting impression on my young mind. My answer, however, had more to do with why rather than when. My parents didn’t own a television during the four years I was home-schooled in Tokushima, Japan, so reading was high on my list of indoor activities. I spent hours escaping into the richly imagined worlds of my favourite characters, and before long, I was under the spell of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily and Louisa May Alcott’s Jo. If those two fictional characters could aspire to become authors, I thought, then maybe I could, too! Of course, Anne with the “e” was also a big part of my life, and I couldn’t help but wish I was as quick-witted and spunky as she.
I began playing with words around that time, making up silly limericks and poems on the spot to entertain anyone who would listen, or writing stories in which the protagonists always dined on warm bread, cheese and goat’s milk before each feeble plot came to an end. (I now believe that Johanna Spyri’s story of Heidi influenced my characters’ culinary preferences at that time. Goat’s milk? I disliked it intensely myself, but had to drink it for the few years we lived in rural Ontario before our move to Japan.)
Later, as a student returning to Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan–an international day school with boarding facilities–I joined the staff of the Nagamine Echo, our high school newspaper, and so my interest in writing continued.
Although authors–both past and present– are quoted frequently for the insights they’ve provided on the craft of writing, I selected the following advice for its simple statement of fact. In 1775 Boswell noted that “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading…” Had he been alive today, he might have added, “and browsing the Internet”. I hope you will take the time to check out my other page tabs above.