Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where I completed my BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, I graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, I received my diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.
My writing breakthrough came many years ago when I won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with my short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power.
My short story Dietrich's Ash was an Okanagan Short Fiction Award winner and was published in Canadian Author & Bookman, anthologized in Pure Fiction (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) and broadcast on the CBC Radio program Ambience.
My short story Creatures from Greek Mythology was a Second Prize Winner and WQ Editors Prize winner and was published in Cross-Canada Writers Quarterly.
My spy novel Skywatcher was a finalist in the Seal Books First Novel Competition and was published in 1989. This was followed by a sequel, The Cilla Rose Affair, and a mystery/adventure, Cold Play, set aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.
After three time-travel romances (Persistence of Memory, In Loving Memory and Marianne's Memory), I returned to mysteries with Disturbing the Peace, a novella, in 2017 and the novel Notes on a Missing G-String in 2019, both featuring the character I first introduced in Cold Play, jazz musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey.
The second novel in my Jason Davey mystery series, Lost Time, was published on August 31, 2020.
I've been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. I recently retired from my full-time job as a Program Assistant at UBC's School of Population and Public Health. I'm currently the BC/YT/NWT rep for the Crime Writers of Canada and I live in New Westminster, BC, where I am happily embracing life as a full-time author.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I ran a completely illegal fan club for the Monkees when I was 12 years old, and I ran a semi-official website for the actor Sean Bean between 1995 and 2012. You can still visit the website, although it is no longer updated.
As an offshoot to that – I'm the person responsible for inventing the original “Death by Cow” list of all of the films, tv shows and stage productions in which Sean Bean's characters die. You can see it on the website!
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
My dad was a travel agent so when we immigrated to Canada in 1957, we flew on an airplane – a Super Constellation – unlike most immigrants who came by ship. We managed a few trips back to England after that, and those were always by ship, because, being in the business, my dad got a great discount. I sailed on five different ocean liners between 1957 and 1968 – an Italian liner called the Homeric (which has a guest mention in my novel, Lost Time); a little Dutch ship, the Ryndam (the ancestor of the current megacruise ship Ryndam, owned by Holland America); the Empress of England (a lovely little liner owned by Canadian Pacific); her sister, the Empress of Canada (the inspiration for the Star Sapphire in my novel Cold Play); and the Queen Mary. The original Queen Mary. The one that's sitting in the drydock at Long Beach, California. I sailed aboard her when I was seven years old and although my memories are a bit patchy, I do remember the splendour of our cabin (it was all dark wood panelling and green silk bedspreads) and the uniqueness of having a bath-tub with an optional salt-water tap. I also remember being very seasick and throwing up at the dinner table (I was mortified).
My love of old steamships dates back to these voyages. It's a little known fact, but Jason Davey (my amateur detective in Lost Time) was actually conceived on board the Queen Mary during a voyage his parents took to the U.S.
Where were you born/grew up?
I was born in Hampstead, which is a northern suburb of London, England. I spent my first three years there, and then I immigrated with my parents to Canada. I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where my dad was the manager of a travel agency. I got my BA in English from the University of Regina. I met my husband in Regina (he was a radio newsman), and then we moved to Winnipeg for a few years, then back to Regina, then Moose Jaw (anyone who is anyone has lived in Moose Jaw at one time or another!) and then we finally moved out to the west coast (Vancouver) where I've lived for the past forty years or so.
What are you passionate about these days? What do you do to unwind and relax?
I've put these two questions together because they involve the same things!
I'm absolutely passionate about my writing. I always have been. But I retired from working last year (in a job unrelated to writing) and now I finally have all day to indulge in my passion. I am a full-time writer at last! Oddly enough, my stories also help me to unwind and relax. If I don't do some research, or some creative work on my novels, I tend to get very tense and bad-tempered. I need my writing fix!
My other main passion is family tree research. So far I've discovered about 7,000 cousins :-) Most of them are very distant, and there's also a huge mystery as to where my great-grandfather came from. I have no idea who his real parents were, where he was actually born, and whether he had any siblings. I've done the DNA test and that's created even more of a mystery! So I spend a lot of time digging through my distant cousins' family trees to try and find links and common family members. It's a bit like writing a mystery – and you'll see that I've used my knowledge of how family tree research sites work to help Jason solve the mystery of Pippa Gladstone in Lost Time!