Where did you grow up and do you think it influenced your writing?
I’m a pirate at heart.
I was born on an island in the North Atlantic, off the east coast of Canada, called Newfoundland. Its history dates back to the Vikings, and, culturally, we lean heavily to Irish. There were still Gaelic speakers in Newfoundland well into the 20th century.
Until I started researching for my first book, Witch in the Wind, I didn’t realize there was a little-known yet long-established tradition of witch lore in Newfoundland culture. My ancestors believed in everything from fairies to leprechauns, four-leaf clovers to banshees, and had all sorts of rituals to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. And, like the Irish, we love to spin a tale! Supposedly my family line goes back to the rebel, Michael Collins. And I did navigate a pirate ship once (see photo), but that’s a whole other story. Suffice it to say, folktales and storytelling are bred into my family genes.
What do you do in your free time?
My husband can really call me a ‘gold digger’ after this trip to the Saskatchewan River!
What free time???? I write, do the dishes, I write, walk the dogs, I write, have coffee with my writing partner, I write…..you get the picture. LOL
Truthfully, I do love to take the dogs out. We have two, a Bichon Shih Tzu cross named Kipper (aka my little dead fish) and a Bichon rescue, named Benny (aka the knicker-napper).
Lacrosse is the second Canadian national sport along with hockey and we have season tickets to watch the Calgary Roughnecks in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). My hubby and I also love to go ‘rock hounding’. On one of our most exciting field trips, we found a bed of dinosaur bones in Drumheller, Alberta. We’ve also taken a few workshops on silversmithing so that we can make jewelry when we start finding semi-precious stones on our expeditions. I already make beaded jewelry and I do a bit of painting and pottery. My latest passion is art journaling.
The Frost Family & Friends series is always set in the winter- is that your favorite season?
Actually no! I love the first big fluffy snowflakes but after that it’s too cold for me. I love the fall. It’s still warm and sunny out and, up here in Canada, the trees turn the most amazing colors. I’ve always lived by the academic calendar so I think of the fall as the beginning of a new year. I get to turn to a fresh page and start something new and exciting.
What is your favorite quote?
I’m pathologically optimistic so my favorite quote of the moment is, “Everything you want in life is just one step away; all you have to do is decide in which direction to step.” I have no idea who said it. I have so many others I love, I collect them on a separate page.
Favorite quote from a movie?
My writing partner, Roxy Buroughs, and I recently talked about this and we had to laugh at how different our choices were. She’s so sentimental! Her favorite is from The Wizard of Oz when the Wizard says to the Tin Man, “A heart is not measured by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.” I’m in the midst of repurposing my life after a long (read, stressful) career, so no surprise that my quote is when Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society says, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
I’ve always been fascinated by Amelia Earhart. My father was a bush pilot and Amelia took off from my home province of Newfoundland on May 20, 1932, to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic when she landed in Ireland. Midflight, poor weather forced her to change her destination—with tenacity and courage, she adapted. Whenever I hit obstacles, whether they are in my life journey or in my story arcs, I picture myself flying over the Atlantic with the wind in my hair, breathing in the fresh salt air. It reminds me that I can also find the tenacity and courage to reset my compass and head in a new direction. It works every time! And in one of life’s great ironies, Roxy Buroughs once played Amelia Earhart in a school play. Obviously, we were destined to meet!
What would readers be surprised to find out about you?
My life is full of surprises. My first career was as a computer security specialist in international banking so I lived through the evolution of the internet as computers took over from paper processes. It was unusual to be a woman in that field and at that time. My job required that I travel all over the world. There was one occasion, in the late 80s, when I sat in a meeting with the CIA on one side of the table and the KGB on the other. Another incident, when I was in my late twenties and in Paris on business, I got lost in the warehouse district late one night when the subway shut down. I was terrified but after almost two hours, I was rescued by a tall, dark and handsome stranger—with a French accent!
It’s great to be able to pursue my dream of being an author at this point in my life, but my earlier career experiences certainly feed into my plots.