How did you get started in children’s books?
I’ve done many types of writing in my career, but telling stories to children appealed the most as I enjoyed reading so much as a child myself, and I was fascinated by the stories of the past that my grandparents told me. There were gaps in topics that I found fascinating about history and the world right in our own backyards and then I discovered a fun way of imparting the information through the use of time shift elements.
What (or who) inspires your writing or art?
Observing and learning about the world around me, travelling, and chatting with people I meet along the way, all inspire my writing. I try to find underlying aspects of what makes things or people tick and try to understand the struggles encountered along the way, and use these to trigger my stories.
What was your favourite book as a child? Why?
I loved the Laura Ingles Wilder books, e.g. Little House on the Prairies, because of the sense of adventure and a character that was relatable. I loved imagining what life might have been like at other times in the past, and this book, and the others in the series, provided details along with a challenge of exploring a new world. This series inspired my ‘Secret’ series.
How can teachers use your books in the classroom?
My books cover a variety of topics that work well with school curriculums, and I also have study guides for almost every one of them that are available for free on my website. I am also available for presentations, including virtually through Skype or other internet software means, and happy to answer email questions.
What are you looking forward to most during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?
Meeting new audiences, especially the students, and sharing my stories with them to see if they spark any interest or inspire them to write.