WELCOME TO MY WORLD
I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where my family had a horse ranch in nearby Bragg Creek. I studied History and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta before heading out to Europe where I hitch-hiked everywhere and made extra money as a street musician. I moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton University and wound up working in the Prime Minister's Office. I set up a business writing for government and business clients in Ottawa as well as Toronto and Montreal.
My first short stories were published in literary quarterlies such as Descant, Quarry, Grain, and The NeWest Review. Some of these stories are about the travels of back-packing street musicians in Europe; others are set during the French Revolution (1789-94) or the Red River Resistance (1869-70). Brothers at War is my first published novel. Before I had a contract to publish Brothers at War, a short story that would become a chapter won The Writer's Union of Canada 16th annual . "Writing for Children Competition."
I am a member of The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC), the Society of Children's Book Writers Illustrators and Performers (SCBWI), and the Canadian Association of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) and am registered with the Authors' Booking Service. The Jake and Eli books are published by Scholastic Canada and I am represented by The Cooke Agency.
Living in Ottawa
I love living in Ottawa and writing for a living. I used to have a dog that loved writing as well. Her name was Zoscha and she used to have articles published in our community newspaper. You can read some of these in the blog section.
In recent years I've been working with the Scottish Society of Ottawa to organize an annual kilt skate in honour of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister. We have been helping to organize similar kilt skates in cities across the country. I have a website and blog dedicated to these kilt skates.
Making up Jake and Eli
My son didn't grow up on a ranch the way I did. In many ways, he grew up in hockey arenas, and on the long drives to tournaments, I would sometimes make up stories about a father and son living during the War of 1812.
I decided to write down some of those stories. The main character's name was Jacob, just like my own son. His last name was Gibson, which was the name of my maternal grandmother. Jacob had a dog named Ginger, who was very much like our own dog, Zoscha.
I wrote these things down, and one day Eli walked into the story. And the two boys, Jake and Eli sort of took over the plot from then on.