Kalamazoo, MI, US
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and grew up there with an older sister and younger brother. I was eight when I started writing. Before that I played a lot of imaginary games alone. One of my favorites was to play with all the cans and boxes and spice jars in the kitchen. They were all characters in a town. As soon as I could put pen to paper, I continued this play but without the props. I did all kinds of writing — novels, poetry, funny stories. For a while I wrote a lot of dark Victorian dramas because I was reading a lot of Dickens. When I read Edgar Allen Poe, I wrote a lot of dark raveny things.
I liked school until grade seven. By grade eight I hated it. I had one wonderful high school English teacher, and he made high school interesting and bearable. I also had a terrific German teacher who set up an office in the library for me where I could go everyday to write. I wrote all through high school and sent manuscripts off to editors, who encouraged me.
After high school, I went to Toronto to study dance at the Canadian College of Dance. I also lived in New York and Montreal before I moved to the Vancouver Island in British Columbia, where I live today.
I don’t know where the ideas for my stories come from; it’s better not to think about this type of thing too much. When I wrote Everything on a Waffle, I didn’t create Primrose Squarp as much as I heard a kind of wistful voice telling a story; I sat down and out came the story in her voice. At the time, we were selling our house and our realtor would come over in the evening and sit down and tell us stories of growing up on Vancouver Island. We would hear about what it was like 30 years before in Victoria and in Coal Harbor and how there was only one restaurant. And guess what? It served everything on a waffle and there was a red trapeze in the middle of the restaurant with a mannequin on it.
As for the recipes in the book, some of them I remember from childhood, like the butterscotch chow mein noodle cookies. And some I just made up. I love books with food in them. But then I always want to know how to make the food. What were the lime pickles in Little Women really like? How would you make them? What about the food in the Little House books? Will someone PLEASE give me the recipe? It's so frustrating to watch people eat in literature and not really be sure what they're eating because you can't find a recipe.
When I’m not writing, about all I ever do is read and eat. We have a dog and a horse, and I take the dog out for long walks in the woods along the ocean's edge. I love where I live because I can take a different walk through different countryside every day and never see another soul. My favorite thing to do is to pile the whole family in the car (my husband Arnie, daughters Emily and Rebecca, and dog Keena) and go for a drive all day long with a picnic lunch, just exploring the island roads.
If you would like to write, just remember that there are no rules. Good luck!