Where are you from?
I’m an Albertan through and through—born in Banff, raised in Exshaw, and I’ve lived in Brooks since the
early eighties. Even though I was raised in the mountains, I know that I was meant to live in a place like
the prairies, where I can see where I’m going (and where I’ve been). I like the warmer weather in the
summer and a little less snow in the winter. The one similarity that I appreciate is that the Chinooks
that blow through both places every winter.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I come from a large family of eight children, so I’ve always had a lot of characters and situations to feed
my imagination. I was also not very interested in sports or anything like that, so I had a lot of time to
read—in fact, by grade four, I’d read almost every book in our school library. I really feel that immersing
myself in books at such a young age helped me develop into a writer. My parents raised all of us with a
high moral standard, and I think that because of that, I have strong opinions of right and wrong—which
tends to show up in my writing.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The first books that influenced me, and fostered a love of reading, were the Nancy Drew books that I
read as a kid. I think all books influence a person in some way. I have many, many favorite authors—
most that I read again and again—but even books that I don’t really like when I’ve finished them
influence me in some ways. I learn what I don’t want to do or what I don’t think works in the same way
that a book I love shows me what works well in a novel.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing stories. I remember even in grade four being one of those kids that
practically cheered when the teacher gave us a story starter and asked us to write a short story. I didn’t
actually write outside of school until I was an adult, but as I was growing up, I was always concocting
stories in my head—they just didn’t make it onto paper.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t think I actually considered myself a writer until I had my first freelance article published. I started
writing short stories as an adult when I had spare time at my job, so I was definitely writing, but at that
point, I didn’t really consider myself a “writer”. In hindsight, I can see how silly that was, but my
perception of a writer was someone who was published.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My sister-in-law introduced me to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and I was totally hooked on her
stories. Part way through the series, I received a copy of a book she wrote that was more or less about
how she wrote novels. At the time, I was married with two small children and was working part time at a
school, and it was encouraging to read that Gabaldon wrote under similar circumstances and
managed to pull of an entire series. I’d had a story rolling around in my head for awhile, and I thought
that if she could do it—I could do it, and I sat down that summer and wrote the first (very rough) draft of
an action/romance novel in five days.