Whether I’m imagining new stories or helping an organization deliver its messages, one thing never changes: I love working with words!
I was born in 1979 in Sudbury, Ontario. I moved to Ottawa when I was eight years old. It was a lucky thing for me, partly because it meant that, when I turned 14, I could audition for Canterbury Arts High School—home to one of only two creative writing programs for high school students in Canada.
I went on to earn a BA in English at York University and a post-diploma certificate in Book and Magazine Publishing at Centennial College. After graduation, I knew I wanted to work with words, but I’d been led to believe writers had to eat tuna fish every night and live in shoeboxes. So, instead, I tried my hand at some responsible jobs that used writing skills.
I was the marketing person for a poetry organization, then I worked in communications for the Girl Guides of Canada. I also edited a web-zine for teen girls, interned at a decorating magazine and worked for the government… and although all of those things were good, none of them were quite the right fit.
Some years later, after my daughter was born, I quit my day job to stay home with her. And, in any spare moment I could find, I worked toward my big dream: publishing a YA novel.
That dream came true in the summer of 2008 when, following a bizarre and sort of mind-boggling series of events, an agent agreed to represent me and sold Mission (Un)Popular to Disney/Hyperion Books for Children.
And while I soon discovered that the shoe box/tuna fish thing wasn’t entirely true, it also wasn’t entirely false. Most writers (even published ones) need to supplement their incomes.
At around the same time my first book sold, I started my own freelance writing and editing business working with youth- and family-serving organizations. But far from being “the thing I do to make ends meet,” the clients I work for (and the work I do) are every bit as close to my heart as my fiction is.
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to help some truly great organizations deliver their messages and meet their goals. These include the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (Ophea), the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Canadian Cancer Society, Health Nexus, Parent Action on Drugs, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and CMAS Canada.
These days I live in a big, old brick house in Kitchener, Ontario with my husband and two kids, but I regularly work with publishers in New York and Toronto, and with clients based in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Sudbury.