From rural southern Ontario to the megalopolitan New Delhi, India to serene Victoria, British Columbia, home is wherever I write.
I was born in Toronto and grew up on a small farm near Tottenham, Ontario (about 60 kilometres north of Toronto). My grandfather gave me my first typewriter which I used to make newspapers about the chickens, ducks, geese and other animals which lived on the farm. Obviously there was a germ of something in those little newspapers. I went on to study journalism at Carleton University and upon graduation worked at CBC Radio in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The South Asia Years, Part 1
During this time I met my husband whose itchy feet matched mine. In January 1994, we quit our jobs and sold everything and went to live in Bangladesh for two years. I worked as a United Nations Volunteer on a drug addiction and abuse project. Though based in Dhaka, I travelled much of the country visiting small non-governmental organizations working in this field, as well as prisons, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, farms, police stations, schools and universities. When the two years was up, we went to Nepal, where I did the same thing for another year. My husband upgraded his education in London, England, and we moved back to Dhaka, where I set myself up as a freelance communication consultant working with some of the more marginalized populations of the country – not only drug users, but sex workers and street children. I believe the best way to get to know a society is to examine its fringes. Those who are not permitted inside, or who choose to stay outside the mainstream tell a lot about a society’s values.
Brief Sojourn Back to Canada
In the early 00s, we moved back to Canada. Our son was born in Victoria, British Columbia.
…But the Great Bungee Cord of South Asia Won't Let Go
In the fall of 2002, the family moved to New Delhi, India, for what was meant to be two years but ended up being six. Though our son was young, and my husband's work in polio eradication kept him on the road for extended periods of time, I was lucky to have the ability to hire household help. For the first time, I seriously applied myself to the work that I love with a passion: writing fiction. I took the servant's quarters in our flat as an office, bought myself a new computer and worked.
Finally released from the bungee cord, we're back in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. My next novel will tell the story of a teenage Russian refugee growing up in rural Ontario in the 1950s.