How did you get started in children’s books?
Back in 2006, when I was working as a full-time chartered professional accountant in Vancouver, I was suddenly struck by a story concept while I stood admiring the storm clouds that had amassed overhead. However, the prospect of actually writing a book was too daunting a task, and I convinced myself that I’d never be able to do it. Two years passed before the urge to put pen to paper finally became too great, and I absolutely couldn’t resist writing down all of the ideas that had been percolating in my mind for so long. And my debut novel, BELOW, was the result!
What (or who) inspires your writing?
Living on the West Coast of British Columbia has profoundly shaped my creativity and my storytelling. I have always been captivated by nature, whether it’s our forests, our storms, our oceans, or our sunsets. I was inspired to write a sci-fi/fantasy adventure novel for young adults because I felt intrigued by how extreme natural elements might affect the lives of two teenagers when their physical worlds collide.
What was your favorite book as a child? Why?
Without a doubt, my most favorite book was Michael Ende’s exquisite, spellbinding novel The Neverending Story, which I read when I was fourteen. At that point in my life, I had never experienced anything so epic, nor with the same ability to inspire my youthful imagination to soar with no limits. Written in both red ink or green ink, depending on whose story was being told, I was immediately swept up in the tale just like the protagonist Bastian. He’s a lonely, bullied boy who locks himself away in his school’s attic one afternoon to read a special book. Its pages chronicle the adventures of Atreyu who lives in the incredible land of Fantastica – a realm that is dying as it is devoured by The Nothing. Halfway through, Bastian discovers that he too is part of the very book that he’s been reading, and as he turns fantasy into reality, I quickly learned myself how this story was truly one with no end.
How can teachers use your books in the classroom?
My trilogy, The Broken Sky Chronicles, has been popular in schools for group discussions about the choices my characters make in their lives and the impact those decisions have on other people. Throughout the three books, I also very much enjoyed exploring the theme that ‘perceptions deceive’, and by writing my chapters from different points of view, students can challenge their own perceptions of reality, which I consider especially important since our modern age is so dominated by falsehoods in the media.
What are you looking forward to most during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?
I’m thrilled to be joining this year’s Book Week Tour because of the exciting opportunity to speak to audiences of enthusiastic book lovers. While eager to promote the value of reading and creative writing, I am also keen to share my own life experiences to inspire the emerging talents of today’s youth.