Hello and welcome!
This is the place where I can answer some of the questions I get asked when I'm out sharing my books with readers young and old. If you have anything you'd like to ask, do get in touch!
Where do you come from?
I was born in Canada, but now I live in Scotland, a beautiful place with hills and lochs and very friendly people. I have lived in Glasgow since 1992, and along the way have acquired a lovely husband and two fantastic children (now young adults).
What were you like as a child?
As a baby I was cute but cross-eyed. Luckily that didn't last long and I turned into a shy and quiet kid with blond hair. I loved drawing and writing, and hated maths. I used to spend hours making silly things from plasticine while watching cartoons.
What was your family like?
I grew up in a big old house with my Mum and Dad and my little sister. My Dad was an English professor and my Mum organised classical concerts. In the summer we always drove for about four hours to a cottage near a lake. Sometimes we would visit my grandparents' cottage on Pigeon Lake. My grandfather loved fishing, and he had a big motorboat that he would tip sideways as he turned corners at high speed. I was terrified that I would fall into the water! I also hated the big angry fish he caught that would flop all over the bottom of the boat. I was a bit of a scaredy-cat.
When did you start writing?
I used to write and illustrate my own stories when I was young. For a long time I thought I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and I studied illustration at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. I did illustrate one book about Christmas around the world, but decided it wasn't for me. Now I just stick to writing the stories, and paint what I like when I like. My son asked me to paint something for his new flat, so I gave him a portrait. That's him aged seven.
Where do you write?
I have a little sunny space at the top of the stairs where I've set up my computer. I like to write on a keyboard because it's so much faster and I can change things around quickly and easily. If I write on paper I soon have a horrible, scribbly mess because I change my mind so often.
Where do you get your ideas?
I started writing children's books for my own children when they were small. My son always loved penguins, so that's what I wrote about first. He was also the inspiration for a book about a boy who wouldn't go to bed. Next was a book about a brother and sister who were always fighting. Authors get story ideas from a lot of places, but having kids helps a lot!
What other jobs have you had?
When I was at art school in Toronto I spent a summer repairing china plates and figurines for a lady who had an 'invisible mending' business. I stuck the heads and arms back on, made new noses and fingers with epoxy resin and pieced broken plates back together. Then the lady would paint them to look as good as new. I have also worked as a proofreader and translator in Montreal, where French is the official language. A few years ago I wrote a musical for children based on my book about a pink penguin. Pink! the Musical was performed by Hopscotch Theatre Company and toured schools across Scotland in 2013 and 2016. We even recorded a CD!