As a child, I never dreamed that I would become an author. I loved to read, almost any book I could find, but I only really wrote when I had to in school. It wasn’t until I became a teacher, after finishing a BA in English and a BEd at the University of Alberta, that I started to write. Although I’d never seen myself as a “writer”, I’d always had a fascination with language and story. My grandparent’s house in the Crowsnest Pass was the hub of their large, Italian families. They hosted dozens of relatives every summer, usually all at the same time. In the evening after we had caught grasshoppers, chased fireflies and let the mountain air run away with our kites, we gathered in their tiny house to hear the stories our relatives told. Every story changed depending on the storyteller, the day, and the response of the audience, and as a young girl, I grew to love these moments. Story fascinated me and words and language mesmerized me. I am still mesmerized by words and story, which is why I write.
When I first started to write, I wrote short stories, primarily because they were short. The thought of writing a novel intimidated me – still does. I have to take it chapter by chapter, and eventually it all comes together in pieces and chunks. I left teaching when my eldest daughter was born and decided to work up some of my unfinished assignments into a short story. That spring, I submitted a story to the Calgary Herald Short Story Contest. My piece got an honorable mention, and I figured, “How hard can this be?” Very! Except I didn’t know that then, so I blissfully continued writing while my three daughters were young. When my youngest was eight months old, we decided to move half way around the world to the Middle East, to a beautiful country called the Sultanate of Oman. It was everything Canada was not. The woman wore black abayahs and, sometimes, burkas over their faces, the men wore long flowing dishdashas, the trumpet flowers perfumed the night air, the outdoor markets smelled of frankincense. We swam with the whale sharks and snorkeled with the sea turtles, and I thought Oman would be the most wonderful place in the world to write about. Instead, I found that I desperately wanted to write about something Canadian, something familiar – home. So when we returned to Calgary after four years in the Middle East, I wrote my first hockey novel, Offside. Hockey was definitely Canadian. There was another place that I also wanted to write about and that was the Frank Slide in the Crowsnest Pass, where my grandparents had lived and I had spent all my summers as a child. And so Shadows of Disaster came about, followed by three other disaster novels and another hockey book.
When I’m not writing, I can often be found at my daughters’ various sporting events, reading or running with my dog. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada and although I no longer teach full time, I am still involved with the schools, conducting writing workshops for students, giving author talks, and doing professional development presentations on teaching creative writing for teachers.