As the author of young adult novels that tackle gritty and difficult subject matter, I am often asked why I write what I do. What I think fuels my desire to write about these topics more than anything is the idea that life can be challenging, and reading about real issues is important. We need to know that we are not alone in our struggles, and that no matter how dire things may seem, there will be brighter days ahead. I hope that when the characters in my novels dream beyond their current circumstance, it inspires the reader to do the same.
As a child I was fascinated by mysteries. This clearly originated in my reading, from Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, to Enid Blyton’s adventure, and later every single Agatha Christie novel. When I was ten, I started my own sleuthing club, the Amateur Detective Club. My sister and best friend and I even followed a pickle trail once.
The concept for Missing Piece, the final book of my Spell Crossed trilogy, wound up radiating through not only the plot and the characters but the form the novel took and the process of writing it.
Two of the main characters, Xemion and Tharfen, have previously had a collision in the frictionless borough of Shissilill. As a result, they have each come away with a piece of the other magically embedded in them. Much of the action of the book tells the tale of how Tharfen goes about trying to recover her missing piece.
When people ask me how I came to write a novel — And Then the Sky Exploded — about the bomb that was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, and the devastation that followed, I have to be honest and admit I’m not really sure.
Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.
Inspiration for a book comes from unexpected places, and from every era in an author’s life. I’ll share two parallel examples with you.
When I first had the idea to write Hawk, I knew I would have to go to the Oil Sands and see it with my own eyes. I'd done a lot of online research and had already decided that my protagonist would come from the remote First Nations Community of Fort Chipewyan, down-steam of the oil sands industry where according to Mr. Google there was a lot of sickness, including cancer, thought by some to be related to toxins from the industry.
I'm not a gamer.
I was raised on an NES with a bootleg cartridge of more than three hundred games - most of which were glitchy beyond recognition, but several of which were actually playable. I spent hours mastering Tetris and my favourite side-scroller, Circus Troupe (which, upon further googling may have actually been called Circus Charlie on copies that weren't super illegal). I dabbled in Mario Brothers, Pac Man and (the unfortunately named) Pooyan.
But I'm not a gamer.