I was a serious couch potato growing up and loved watching television. During my entire elementary school years, I did my homework during commercials while sitting one foot away from the television set. Needless to say, I wasn’t a great student (although I made up for it later in life).
Nancy Drew Turned Me Into A Reader
My parents were immigrants and rarely did a book find its way into my home – that is, until I discovered the local library. FREE BOOKS! I got hooked on Nancy Drew mysteries and took out as many as my arms could hold. To this day I love libraries and librarians!
My greatest encouragement during my elementary school years came from my beloved 5th Grade teacher, Mrs. Cherwaty. She made our class write tons of short stories and often asked me to read mine aloud. I heard applause for the first time in my life and felt a spark ignite that has never been extinguished. I knew, from the tender age of ten, that I wanted to be a writer.
Detours Along The Road To My Dream
I was a Kindergarten teacher for a few years, then an artist, then a private investigator. I eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue my writing career. Here I rubbed elbows with celebrities (and thighs with Sidney Poitier!). During these years I wrote my heart out completing thirteen screenplays. None of them sold (although I came really, really close soooo many times). It broke my spirit. But I never gave up. I was lucky enough to get work writing for television – The Littlest Hobo, The New Monkees, and Nickelodeon's hugely popular Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Northwind Productions (North meaning Canada. Wind meaning wind)
During this time I started my own production company. Missing my beloved Canada I called it Northwind Productions. I wrote and produced a television comedy pilot called Choir Practice starring singer/actress Susan Anton and Alaina Reed Hall (from the series 227). It won an award at the Houston International Film and Television Festival and it almost became a series on CBS. That is, until I opened my big mouth. (click here to hear a song from the show)
Coming Back Home
After ten years in Los Angeles I came back home to Canada. I took a few years off to heal my wounded heart, fully intending never to write again. However, the writing bug caught me and threw me into a creative fever. I wrote 22 picture books in four years, loving every single moment. Not one book sold. Around this time I remembered the excitement young viewers had for the spooky Are You Afraid of the Dark? stories, and I began writing supernatural thrillers for the same pre-teen audience. Finally, something sold! I love writing for this age group because they still believe in magic – and so do I!
And The Winner Is...
My spooky novels, The Mysterious Mummer, Walking with the Dead, The Devil, The Banshee and Me, and The Midnight Curse have garnered seven nominations, three wins (Silver Birch, Diamond Willow, Red Cedar) and two Honour nods for the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards. The Mysterious Mummer also received a Telefilm Canada grant for adaptation into a screenplay (which means maybe, someday, it'll be a movie). Keep your fingers crossed!