If someone had told me I would grow up to be a writer when I was young, I wouldn’t have believed it. My parents were German immigrants so English started off as my second language and even though I loved writing from the time I wrote my first composition in grade four, I thought it was something only dead British or American people did with success. So when I grew up (in Montreal, Quebec), I worked as a clerk in cash management for a large paper company while earning my Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University at night.
Leaving the finance world to have three children forced me to slow down, reflect and write again something I had not had time to do since school. I tried my hand at adult short stories, actually had some household hints published in magazines and then went on to freelance articles for the local paper when we moved to Burlington, Ontario. A friend of mine, Gisela Sherman, now a published author too, convinced me to take a children’s writing course given by Paul Kropp at Sheridan College. I loved his books and in his course wrote wrote my first novel Blueberries and Whipped Cream as the class project. After nine books, I returned to Sheridan College this time to teach Creative writing. I enjoyed teaching for nine years and then reluctantly gave it up because of the travel commitments of a book tours.
A professional writer often cobbles many career streams together. For eight years I edited Today’s Parent Toronto, shaping and creating non fiction about family life in Toronto. I also taught writing to junior grades for weeks at a time through Ontario Arts Council.
This year I finished my last term as a Director on the Board for Access Copyright an agency that makes it possible for institutions to legally use parts of creators’ works while collecting money for creators.
My recent crush. candy. corpse is a novel that took the pain of losing my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease, into a story about a 16 year old girl on trial for the manslaughter of a lady just like Mom.
Lately I’m writing profiles of other authors for Canadian Children’s Book Centre as well as completing a series of books that begin with the premise of a teen dying in the first chapter and then scoring a one week do over for the rest of the story. Dying to Go Viral was a blockbuster hit in Norway and Sweden, published as well in Finnish and German before it came to Canada. What the Dog Says is only available in these other languages (plus Hungarian) awaiting a North American contract.
Best Friends Though Eternity–now that’s a beautiful sky blue hard cover you can buy right now. It deals with an adopted Chinese girl discovering some uncomfortable truths about her past.
Because I believe in young writers, I love teaching and speaking about writing process. I also believe because of the Baby Boomer demograph, that seniors and teens need to bond and work together as never before. Hence I’m working on The Body Swap, a story where a 15 year old and 82 year old exchange souls and team up to fight the faulty car manufacturer that caused their deaths.
Born: Ajax, Ontario, September 30,1954
Married to Bob McNicoll,
Children: Jennifer, Craig and Robin
Grandchild: Hunter, Fletcher, William, Jadzia, Violet, Desmond,
Education: BA Specialization in English, minor in Economics
Concordia University, Montreal
Awards: 2011 Burlington Creative Artist (Literary Arts)
2011 Arts Hamilton for Last Chance for Paris
2007 Hamilton Arts Multimedia Award for Beauty Returns,
2006 Korean War Veteran’s Award (Hamilton Arts) for short article
“A Note From home” Today’s Parent Toronto
1996 Silver Birch for Bringing Up Beauty
1996 Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award for Bringing Up Beauty
2000 Explora-toy Best Novel for Caught in a Lie