They say that readers grow to become writers, but in my case the reverse was true. I can confidently say that I practiced my writing long before I could read – on walls, and especially on my doll’s forehead. The walls were soon covered up, but the legacy of the doll remains.
My desire to read came before anyone got around to teaching me, but I fudged my reading ability well enough. Once when challenged by an older cousin that I did not, in fact, know how to read the comics that I had been holding, I quickly made up a story based on what the pictures told me. Satisfied, he walked away. Either I was excellent at bluffing or the artist conveyed the story expertly with each frame.
My first publication was a skit for the high school play. Most people aspire to being an actor on the stage whereas I flushed with excitement at the prospect of writing the lines they spoke. So excited, in fact, I rushed home and gushed out a scene about unrequited teenage love. An entire box of Kleenex was sacrificed for my art. I submitted my opus, dreaming of the accolades, though forgetting to include my name in the credits. I never heard from them, and eventually I forgot about the submission (the unrequited love was forgotten much sooner). But on opening night, one skit captured my attention. In growing amazement, I realized they were performing my skit! Only it wasn’t a tragedy…they had turned it into a comedy instead. I have to admit, it was better, but that was the last time I tried to write a play.
Except for an attempt to co-write a historical romance (fortunately now trapped in the obsolete land of floppy disks), over the next years my love for stories was limited to anything I could consume, not produce. Alexandre Dumas, Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, J.R.R Tolkien, and yes, even Shakespeare, were my favourite literary companions. Dog-eared versions of all their works have a permanent place on my bookshelf.
The literary bug didn’t strike me again until one day, when searching for what to read next, the thought struck me – what I really wanted was to write a story. And so, Traitor’s Knot was conceived and written. Why that story? It was a way to combine two of my fascinations: the 17th century and highwaymen.
Along the way, I found more writers (usually under rocks) and became involved in various writing communities like the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA), the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Historical Novelist Society (HNS) and the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). There’s nothing quite like connecting to a roomful (or cyber space) of writers. Firstly, they also hear voices in their heads. As well, no one else gets so passionate about storytelling as writers do. Even when you dissect it, there is a beautiful structure that underpins great storytelling, and I can go on all day about it.
Writing and storytelling is addictive. When I first conceived that I wanted to write, someone should have warned me that you can’t put that genie back into the bottle. I’ve heard writers speak about sacrificing for their craft–locked in a room and hunched over a keyboard. That actually is my idea of a great weekend! Unfettered writing time! It’s possibly what makes a Canadian long winter a cheerful prospect.
The road to publication is long, but every blog post and every short story or article expands the horizon and leads to new possibilities. What makes it all worthwhile are the readers who participate in that journey.
So that is how I got here and how you are now reading about it. Are you ready for that journey?
Now on a more formal note, here is my official bio:
I am a historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War (ECW). I belong to the following organizations: the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novelist Society (HNS) and the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) where I previously sat on the Board of Directors. I am a co-editor and contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog, a site devoted to English history, and assist with social media for the HNS. Recently, I became a proud member of the Battle of Worcester Society, an organization devoted to keeping this historic battle in the forefront of history.
I have published a number of articles in the Word Weaver, online E-Zines, Reading as Writers, and the Canadian Authors Association (CAA). My short stories include Confessions of a Tooth Fairy in Canadian Tales of the Fantastical (Red Tuque Books), Warwick Market in Canadian Tales of the Heart (Red Tuque Books), and The Dragon, appearing in Word Weaver. I received the WCDR’s Neil Crone Scholarship in 2011 and the Len Cullen award in 2016.
My historical fiction novel, Traitor’s Knot, a romantic tale of adventure set during the English Civil War, is published by Endeavour Press. Traitor’s Knot is the first in a series of adventures spanning from the ECW to the Restoration (Road to the Restoration). It is available through Amazon.