A child of the 80s, remedy I grew up surrounded by My Little Ponies, the music of Cyndi Lauper, Commodore 64 computer games and the works of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and Lois Lowry – and many of these influences have made their way into my books for young readers.
I’ve been a voracious reader and a passionate writer since childhood. I’ve worked as a book reviewer, copywriter, marketing consultant, television writer, bookseller, university instructor and writing mentor. I love daydreaming, dancing in the kitchen, wearing costumes, and goofing off with family and friends.
I have a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia, the acquisition of which was probably the most glorious time of my life. Children’s book people (writers, librarians, booksellers, scholars) are totally my peeps. I also have a long history of working in arts and culture, and I’ve been an instructor and practicum coordinator in the Arts and Entertainment Management Program at Capilano University for the past six years. Writing and instructing are two of my greatest loves, and I’m happy that I get to live a life where I do both.
I live in a tucked-away corner of Vancouver with my awesome husband Joshua and our two delightfully wacky kids, Keaton and Ione. Our current pets are a tankful of fish (including my beloved albino catfish, Jareth), and three hilarious guinea pigs named Lulu, Trixie and Ketchup.
Below is a list of some of my most-often received and most favourite reader questions, plus a few more that I just threw in for kicks.
Where do you get the ideas for your books?
My books are usually inspired by things that have actually happened to me, people I’ve known, or places I’ve been. FARMED OUT, for example, was inspired by my real-life experiences volunteering on a wonderful organic garlic farm (still one of my happy places!), and then the sequel, THE BIG APPLE EFFECT, was borne out of my own teenage obsession with visiting New York City (I’ve still never been, alas). EXPLORE came from my husband’s stories of going to outdoor school when he was a teenager.
Who are your favourite authors?
Ooooh, I could go on about that until the cows come home, but how about if I give you a list of my top ten books that I love for various wonderful reasons, and that have also been huge literary and artistic influences in my life. It’s a real mish mash of children’s books, grown-up books and poetry – all the stuff I like to read.
- Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy
- Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
- Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan
- Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
- Two Bowls of Milk by Stephanie Bolster
- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
- A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
- His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat by Oliver Sacks
- Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
What’s up with your social media handle, @glowbuggirl?
Back in the mid-90s, there was a thriving zine scene, and I was part of it, with my zine Glowbug. (I can’t quite remember how I came up with that name – maybe because I like these glow-in-the-dark bug toys that were popular in the 80s?) Zines were handmade, photocopied little personal magazines that zinesters (as well called ourselves) mailed to each other. Back then, every week day was like Christmas – I couldn’t wait for the mail to come. Zines and letters and packages would arrive for me every day. We had quite the little community going. It was awesome. The mail just ain’t like it used to be. If you want to read a great YA book about kids who write zines, check out HARD LOVE by Ellen Wittlinger. It’s fab.
Will you write sequels for your books?
You never know! THE BIG APPLE EFFECT was a sequel to FARMED OUT, so I do have a thing for sequels. Characters tend to live on in my head long after I’ve written them, which is why it is fun to dream up what might happen in other books about them.