Born and raised on Cape Breton Island, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. My writing career began in elementary school when I wrote regularly to more than a hundred penpals in North America. A genuine love of story led me to journalism school in Halifax, N.S. where I earned an honours degree from the University of King’s College.
I’ve lived, learned and worked in Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories and Alberta with my work appearing in local, regional and national publications. For six years, I penned a popular and humorous weekly column about family life that first appeared in then-Sun Media newspapers GP Ink, which moved from 2010 to 2013 to the Daily Herald-Tribune.
Because people are so interesting, I’m most often inspired by real people, real places and real events. My newest book is no exception. A young adult novel, Cold White Sun is the story of Tesfaye, an Ethiopian refugee who is smuggled into Canada. The result of months of intense, deeply personal interviews and hundreds of hours of research, it is truly a labour of love. It was released by Groundwood Books in March 2019.
A middle-grade novel published by Second Story Press of Toronto is set on the Siksika First Nation in Alberta. Lacey and the African Grandmothers is a fictionalized story inspired by a true one. When Lacey hears of how women in Africa are raising their grandchildren because the parents are sick with or have died of AIDS, she contacts the Stephen Lewis Foundation asking if she can help.
My earliest works for children were picture books inspired by my sons. To the Post Office with Mama tells the story of a daily walk with my toddler son in the rural town of Sexsmith, Alberta. A few years later, I chronicled the adventures of another son in To the Pool with Mama, which is set at the former Leisure Centre pool in Grande Prairie. Both books were published by Annick Press of Toronto.
Writing and literacy are my passions. As well as writing for adults and children, I devote most of my volunteer activities to improving opportunities for children to connect with stories and the people who write and illustrate them.
Additionally, I’m past president of the Grande Prairie chapter of the Children’s Literature Roundtable, a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, a member and former director of the Young Alberta Book Society, and a professional member of the Canadian Authors’ Association.
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