Books To Scare You This Halloween…


As many of you know I am a great fan of Stephen King, so scary stories are part of my every day reading. However, there are a number of other novelists that might peak your interest (or not!)

This list is quite comprehensive.

Which ones would you buy?

Have you read any of them? Care to share your thoughts?

It is interesting how different things scare different people. As a young single woman I identified with the poor rabid dog in Cujo but decades later as a mother, my fear was for the child. Perspective changes everything, even our fears.


After I had my children my recurrent nightmare was being buried in an avalanche with them – odd as at that time I lived in England so no fear of an avalanche at all. Now I live in Canada it would make more sense – but that’s dreams for you. As a young child my recurrent nightmare was being impaled on a rhinoceros’ horn and it running through a marquee full of people enjoying a party. (I was born in South Africa, so maybe this was a deeply subconscious fear). It took decades before I could even look at a rhino on the TV let alone in the flesh. Until, that is my daughter asked me to touch one. That broke the fear spell.


What are your fears? Do they carry over from childhood? Have they changed?

Seasonal Writing Changes…

Weather can have quite an effect on our writing as it influences us emotionally and physically. Each season has its benefits.


Spring brings hope of warmth and plans conjured for outdoor pursuits, clearing of winter’s destruction and planting for summer blooms. It is also a time when a new project or idea may come forth. Use the short days and early evenings to plot, plan and create.summer

The sunshine and heat of summer tempts us outdoors to the wonderful variety of activities and abundance of the season. Looking at our writing area sends sharp pangs of guilt into our sub-conscious. I should be writing is its taunt. Remember experiences count as research so enjoy your summer. Find a quiet nook to write in the early mornings, or in a hotel lobby observing guests going back and forth or curling your toes in the sand on a beach. People watching is a trait a writer should indulge.Fall

Fall (Autumn) with its burst of colour and chilly winds encourages warmer clothing and the last hurray before the winter. The seasonal change turns our thoughts inward to postponed projects and the opportunity to begin them. Plotting, character development, and the first lines into a new story warms our Muse.winter

In Alberta, my homeland now, winter is severe. We experience extreme cold, lots of snowfall and limitations on outdoor pursuits. Obviously, some people relish the opportunity to ski, snowboard, sled etc. but for others it is a time of indoor pursuits and a hibernation mentality takes over. Secluded in your writing area, your focus can dwell on your writing, ignoring the cold, harsh weather outside.

As writers, we learn to use emotional, social, and climatic insights and feelings to the benefit of our craft. It gives us an idea how weather can effect a character’s situation or show the passing of time.

How do the different seasons affect your writing?

Review of Book Sale – Words in the Park…

meet the author

I did double duty at this event on Saturday. As an author I bought a table to sell and promote my books and freelance business but as one of the organizers, I also set up, dealt with vendors and took down. It is an annual event hosted by my writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County – Writers Foundation Strathcona County

This was our eighth year and the biggest and best yet! With a host of authors, artisans, food trucks, children’s activities, author readings and musical performances, it was an excellent family day out.

Preparation for these sorts of events is always paramount as an author. You must decide on marketing materials, ensure you have enough copies of your books, and test out your table display to best show off your work. This year with three books (two children’s & one adult), I juggled the display so the children’s books were side by side with buttons, bookmarks, a blurb of each book and display objects to highlight the particular books content.

For Rumble’s First Scare, I had my plush Rumble toy, Rumble hats, t-shirts and buttons. With Ockleberries to the Rescue, there was the ‘wooden door’, book blurb, colour changing animal ornaments and china ornaments. For The Rython Kingdom, I made bookmarks with blue beads, displayed a blue glowing orb and a book blurb.

I also made up a price list, which enabled my wonderful helpers to man my table while I was running around organizing!

This was my display:

WITP 2015 table display

I found that the bright orange on the tablecloth did catch people’s eye and of course the glowing objects too. I am pleased to report I sold 7 books – 4 Rumble’s, 2 Rython and 1 Ocklerries – so as you may expect I am a happy author! And was more than pleased to sign those books too.

What preparations do you make for book selling events?

Clickety Click – Excerpt #8

monster claw

Too hesitant to ask what the King meant by his remark, Alice nodded and smiled. Totoran took Alice’s hand and led her away, calling back to his parents that they would join them later for supper. Escorting Alice along another passageway he turned into a splendid chamber decorated with several battleaxes, a large cloth covering depicting a battle scene and a long low bench. Alice was amazed at the intricate details in the fabric although the scene was rather gory.

“What is this, Totoran?”

“This tapestry was made by my great, great, great grandmother. It is the final battle on our planet before we escaped. It is a reminder of our home and the courageous Griffian’s who tried to defend it. The weapons you see are the only remaining pieces from that battle. We fashion new weapons in their likeness although we use earthly materials, such as iron and steel.”

“So this room is a war room?”

Totoran smiled and shook his head.

“Not exactly – it is a place of reflection and a reminder of our history.”

“I’m not sure I could be peaceful and reflect with these images, Totoran. The scenes are violent and graphic.”

“Well, yes I can understand that. You are young in your transformation and the collective memoirs have not invaded your mind yet.”

Alice turned from inspecting the tapestry with wide-eyed shock.

“Collective memoirs? What are you saying, Totoran? Will I see this battle somehow?”

“Alice I did not mean to alarm you. I’m so sorry. The images will come gradually just like dreams. You will not be assaulted all at once with the history of our kind. It is a way of passing down our world and accomplishments, generation to generation.”

“Will the dreams be so graphic, horrid? I’m not sure I would call them dreams more like nightmares.”

Totoran rubbed at his chin, deep in thought. When he looked up again, he was smiling.

“I think I know a way of making this history less frightening for you, Alice. Come with me.”

Puzzled at his words but thankful she would have less horrific images to deal with; Alice followed the prince along a corridor which steeply dipped into the mountain. Totoran took her hand as they descended for what felt like a long time, guiding her and ensuring she did not slip on the wet rock surface. Alice guessed after some time that an archway encircled with torches ahead of them was their destination.

“We are now as deep as it is possible to dig, Alice. Here we keep our most precious treasures.”

“Treasurers? How will treasurers help me learn your history with being scared?”

“You will soon see. Come this way.”

Totoran turned to one side and brushed away a heavy cloth from a hidden wooden door. It’s surface was framed and crisscrossed with heavy metal bars.

“Not much could get through this door!”

“That is why it was made, Alice.”

Totoran took a large key from his belt and turned it in the lock. The heavy mechanism’s clanking echoed along the corridor behind them. As Totoran pushed the door, Alice could see it was over a foot thick and the hinges creaked loudly. She had to blink several times for her eyes to get used to the bright light within the chamber ahead. As her eyes focused she saw several hunched figures sitting around a table lit with dozens of candles and there were even more torches hung on the rock face around them.

“May I introduce you to our most precious treasurers, Alice. These are the elders. They are writing their life stories in intricate detail for future generations.”

Alice was stunned into silence. The Griffians before her were hunched, pale and withered. She whispered.

“How old are they?”

“Well in human terms several hundred years but Griffian’s live a lot longer than humans. Why don’t you sit, Alice? We shall talk a while.”

Alice followed Totoran’s lead and bowed to the elders one after the other, then sat on a nearby bench beside him.

“We ask your help, great elders. Alice is fearful of the history transfer and its images. Can you relate the past for her?”

The elders turned as one to face the two young Griffians, nodding slowly. One Griffian with steel grey tufts along his back spoke in a low gruff voice. It sounded like pebbles rolling down a wall to Alice.

“Young ones, we have many, many stories of our planet before the destruction. Generations of Griffians enjoyed happy times and abundance on our home world. The battle was but a second in time and not to be dwelled upon for long. We must learn from our mistakes and ensure our kind continue far into the future. What did you wish to know?”

Totoran nodded his encouragement to Alice. Her mind froze. What should she ask first? Gripping her hand gently, Totoran spoke.

“Our young guest has recently transformed and is trying to make sense of her new form. Please forgive her.”

The elders smiled and nodded in unison. The grey tufted one, held his claw out towards Alice.

“We have many stories to tell, my young one. We only want to help. Do not be afraid we are old and harmless.”

“I didn’t mean you to think I was afraid of you, I just have no idea what questions to ask. The tapestry so horrified me and when the prince told me I would have dreams of the battle, I was scared.”

“It is understandable, Alice. Why not ask about something other than the battle?”

Alice’s shoulders dropped showing her relief at the elders offer. After a moment she began to talk. Three hours later, with their stomachs grumbling for food, Totoran and Alice left the elder’s chamber, happy and filled with momentous stories to recite at the supper table.

Interview with Barbara Rebbeck…

Barbara Rebbeck

What inspired you to write your first book?

Before writing NOLA Gals, I was deeply moved by Hurricane Katrina. The constant media coverage engrained the tragedy in my mind. I wanted to share it with younger readers who would not know about it in years to come.

How did you come up with the title? 

NOLA Gals seemed a natural to me. The city “NO”, state “LA” and a touch of the south, “Gals.” I made sure, however, that not far into the novel I explain it for those who might not figure it out.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

This is my first published book although I have a draft of another earlier novel about a teen whose dad has cancer brought on by his military service in Vietnam.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

I want readers, particularly teens to realize the destruction of   Hurricane Katrina, the disruption of the lives of those who survived, the racial prejudice encountered and the importance of reading a really good book. The NOLA Gals are helped by lessons of tolerance they read in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Nola gal IAN

How much of the book is realistic?

The book is historical fiction from just ten years ago so I did extensive research. The Source List at the end of the novel contains every book, movie or music CD I used in the writing of the novel.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

Some are based on people I know, others are completely made up (the two main characters, Essence and Grace, for instance). George, the poodle is very real, my sister-in-law’s dog. His photo is at the end of the book.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Good question. I think probably little Char. At five-years-old, she exemplifies the combined innocence and terror of a child in the midst of a terrible natural disaster. Her quest to honor her grandmother’s life with a ceremony for her ashes was very moving to write.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

I tried to keep the book “clean” so it could be used in classrooms. I might have softened the relationship between Harold and Mama. Making her older when it began.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Keep reading. It is such a source of learning in life. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by reading realistic books, even the classics. And never lose curiosity. That, to me, is the most important trait to get you through life. Never lose the wonder of discovery.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I have total power over the universe I create. I can tell when I’m onto a good passage of writing because I give myself chills as I write. Such chilling passages in NOLA Gals for me were the extended metaphors of both Hurricane Katrina and Rita. The impromptu jazz parade at the Superdome. The cocktail party/dance juxtapositions. Mimmi’s ashes. The To Kill a Mockingbird defense.

I also love working with kids in schools and meeting with adult groups, too. The kids love the book and want tips on writing, especially extended metaphors. I have photos, samples kids have written, and ideas for writing on my website, I have donated some of my royalties to schools in New Orleans and hope to visit there, too. Adult book clubs are fun. I just met with a group of twelve ladies who all loved the book. Several said they had read it in one night. When a sixth grader approaches you with tears in her eyes and asks for your autograph on her notebook, “cuz I’ve never met a real author before” those chills pop. Or when a 7th grade boy says in front of the whole class that, “I’ve never read a book that makes me feel so deeply,” you know your job is done, and done well as a writer.”

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote at a young age. In fourth grade I was fortunate to have a teacher, Miss Downes who let me write and direct plays at school. Later I had a southern lady, Mrs. Hartwig for three years in junior high who assigned us weekly compositions. She would read a few aloud to the class every week, and I was always so proud when she read one of mine. She really instilled creativity in all of us that stuck. I wrote dreadful poetry in high school. Later as an adult, I wrote serious poetry and published some and won a few awards.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write?

I like writing for kids, especially historical fiction. I am writing a sequel now, for NOLA Gals as so many people have requested one. It is Essence’s memoir written ten years later, looking back on her struggle to survive during the rebuilding of New Orleans. I am in the research stage now, having soaked up so many ideas during the recent tenth anniversary commemorations for Hurricane Katrina.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Not a subject, but writing for kids I try not to get too negative. Some of the post-apocalyptic fiction kids read can be such a downer. I hope to give kids hope. The ending of NOLA Gals does that.

What book are you reading now?  I just read “The Martian” by Andy Weir. I can’t wait for the movie. It was a great example of surviving by your wits.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  My current favorite is Hillary Mantel. Her British historical fiction is amazing. I’m awaiting the third book of her Wolf Hall trilogy about Henry the VIII. I tend to become obsessed with a writer and read all his/her works. I’m doing that now will Mantel. I love to go to London, England and see plays. And last time there I saw both of the adaptations of her two books in one day. I was thrilled that she was there signing programs, too. I’ve also watched the new BBC version of her books, too. Her memoir is also great.

A personal favorite is a memoir written by my friend, Anne-Marie Oomen. Love, Sex and 4-H is one of my favorite memoirs ever.

Do you see writing as a career?

No, I couldn’t live on my royalties. I’m retired with a pension. It’s still hard for me to accept money for my writing. I volunteer all my time in classrooms and for adult groups. Let’s face it: schools are mostly broke these days. I taught for over 30 years so I figure I’m giving back now to kids and adults.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I don’t nibble while I write, but when I finish a session with my laptop, I seem to need a victory ride, so I hop in the car and head out for a delectable snack. Depending on the hour, it might be a trip to the Dairy Queen, for a tin-roof sundae, or a drive-thru shake somewhere. If it’s been a long writing session, I’ll grab a meal somewhere. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I tend to be phobic about people talking during movies. I’ve been known to get up and move more than once when people around me talk. And don’t get me started on texting in theaters. Rudeness seems to be the new norm.

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit with a very British dad. I was the second of six kids, a big Catholic family. When I was in first grade I was part of the First Communion class at Saturday catechism classes. Every week we would recite our prayers, learn our saints (especially the martyred – so gloriously bloody), and receive the priest’s blessing, before we trotted off down the road to see a double feature at the local movie theater. It was the fifties when for a quarter you could eat a sloppy Joe and sip a root beer at the dime store counter before the movies for another fifteen cents. Then we’d settle in for two features of Martin & Lewis or Laurel & Hardy, lots of cartoons and even a newsreel. The audience was rowdy, but we loved it. Those were the days when kids could wander and parents didn’t worry. That Saturday morning however, catechism was scary, the reason to make me worry. Sister Bartholomew stood before us and peered down at us through her wire-rim glasses. “Girls and boys,” she said. “If the Russians came today…” We all stiffened in our seats at the mention of our evil enemies. “If the Russians,” she repeated, “came here and set up a pot of boiling oil right outside this window,” she pointed with her crooked finger, and rasped lowly,” if they lit that oil, and it began to bubble.” We began to shrink in our seats, our fear also bubbling. “If they then came up those stairs outside that door.” She swung around, the large crucifix hanging at the waist of her black habit swinging, “And they burst through that locked door, with loaded guns aimed at your hearts.” We sank even lower, terrified. “Now they walk up and down these rows and stop before each desk. They lean over and hiss in each face and ask you if you are Catholic. What would you answer if you knew…” Again she turned to the window, “What would you say if you knew a “yes” would deliver your small body to the boiling oil?” We were paralyzed, seeing ourselves bobbing in the oil. We all shouted we would say “yes,” of course. There was no other response to Sister.

“Class dismissed,” she said. And we ran out of the room. No horror movie we were about to see could ever equal this torture.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully alive. With at least one more published novel under my belt. I also have a memoir in me when time allows it. I’d also like to see NOLA Gals as a play or movie.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Writing comes easy for me. It always has. Publishing is another story. It took years to get someone to even look at the manuscript. I hate writing query letters and being at the mercy of agents and publishers who see dollar signs as the reason to give a work a chance. Thank goodness for the small presses of the world who will read a manuscript and take a risk.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? None, really. I’ve always been right on target with deadlines. I grew up in a family that was always way too early for every event and deadline. If we were going to a concert, we’d get there long before the doors opened, and the musicians arrived. Fifteen minutes early for others was late for us.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Looking back on things I wrote like early teen poetry, I see it as very bad, but I chalk that up to inexperience. I hate writing done for assignments written to a specific formula like the “five-paragraph theme.” They don’t really exist in nature, only in teachers’ minds.

What book do you wish you had written?

My all-time favorite is probably Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I first read it when I was in junior high and have never forgotten it. The eerie mood she sets of the old mansion Manderley on the Cornish coast of England still gives me chills. I’ve seen all the movie versions of it and will find myself up late at night watching Sir Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine combat the evil Mrs. Danvers until the wee hours even though I know I have all the movie versions in my collection. Just hooked forever on this mystery.

What is your best marketing tip?

Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t let vanity overrule your pocketbook. There are many people out there who want your money. Join all the writing groups on facebook that do free promotion. Use twitter and tumblr and other social media. If you want to enter contests, chose selectively and research past winners to see if your book fits in. Beware of goodreads and its reviewers. They can be abusive and face no recourse. Trolls can do in an author.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

A sequel to NOLA Gals, at this time untitled. A memoir.

How do we find your books, blog and bio? NOLA Gals is available on Amazon. Website is:

NOLA Gals was a finalist for the IAN Book Awards



Author Interview – Dana Popov and Marc Evans…

Dana PopovMarc Evans

What inspired you to write your first book? 

The first book of the series ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ was part of a project we started in 2007. We is my husband who is originally from Quebec/Canada and I am from Germany.

In 2002 we met in Playa del Carmen – Mexico where we lived for 8 years. The entire area is filled with Mayan history and culture. We wanted to engage the tourists into the culture and the local environment during their stay and believed that a story would be the most entertaining way for children to learn about it. Unfortunately the project back then never took off and we forgot about the story until this year. Our daughter loves books and so I suddenly remembered the story and started writing on it again. Weirdly enough it was really easy.

How did you come up with the title? 

We wanted to change the title from the original project “Key to Paradise” to something new because the project itself was past. The first idea my husband had was ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ and I loved it.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

Yes, first published book. I always liked to write though. I have a blog in German about food for babies.

Weirdly enough ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ I write in English and then translate it into German. Don’t know why.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely. Besides being educational on culture and environment it is about empowerment for kids. Believe in yourself!!!

Ti & Magic Key

How much of the book is realistic? 

The story line itself is fiction however all of the environmental information are researched and so are a the places, temples, Mayan gods etc. A lot of little details in the book are true to the believes of the Mayas and educate without the feeling of being educated.

I wanted to ‘un-dust’ the Mayan culture with this book. A lot of existing books or movies are either bloody or feel out of date and do this amazing culture no justice.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

The Mayan gods are based on Mayan believes however some of their relations are fiction. The boy and his parents are fiction.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

It is two of the characters. The gods Kukulkan and Itzama because one is the evil one and the other one the good god. It is the ying and the yang.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

Probably the format. The second book is a lot longer and more intense than the first book. So it will have a different format than the first book.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? ‘

Dream, Believe and protect our planet.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

That I hopefully inspire children to do more research on culture and environment.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

My first poem was around the age of 8. It was four lines long and rhymed well.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

Seeing the story come alive in the images and the first time I read a new chapter to my husband and he goes: “Wow”

What is your favorite theme/genre to write? 

Writing for children and take them on an imaginary journey.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Any type of abuse

What book are you reading now?

It is a German book. It is a humorous perspective of a mother on her life. I can relate to it. My daughter is four.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I purposely read in German because I do not want to lose my mother tongue. A lot of the authors are German. Probably nobody you would know.

Do you see writing as a career? 

I never did. But I really want the series ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ to reach children all over the world because I love the message and education in it. This is why we translate the story from English into German, French and Spanish.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Unfortunately chocolate :) I wish it would be an apple.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I am rolling my eyes a lot when someone tells me a story. My daughter picked that up and we had a meeting at her kindergarden where we got told that rolling eyes is not a nice habit.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

On a balcony overlooking the ocean writing a book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

A lot of research goes into ‘Ti and the Magical Key’. Because a lot of evidence has been destroyed when the Spaniards conquered the Americas you find different opinions on the internet. At some point I have to decide which one to follow without really knowing.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

More chocolate :)

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Not that I remember. But then again my brain capacity diminished during pregnancy and never fully recovered. So I can’t answer that with certainty.

What book do you wish you had written?

Harry Potter

What is your best marketing tip?

I am still figuring the marketing out myself. Currently we have a Facebook Fan page, twitter- and Pinterest account as well as a website. We are trying to get the kids involved and are writing personally to our fans to invite them into the ‘VIP Readers Club’ where we share secrets about the next book and adventures.

As well we started a blog on our website ‘Ti travels the world’ where parents from all over the world are sending us pictures of their kids with the book. I really love the blog. The pictures are amazing and are the best reward.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

I am working on finishing the second book of the series.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The gods are playing a much bigger role in the second book and we are introducing a girl. In regards to the environment we cover the mangroves and cenotes/sinkholes.


How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can email us at

Ockleberries review – Jessica & Bianca

I received an awesome review from a young lady after she read Ockleberries to the Rescue.

Her mother left the review on Goodreads :

My daughter is reading this book. She says “I love the stories of how Tansy and Crispin help all the forest animals.” My daughter is nine and I recommend the book for the ages 8-12. Two thumbs up
Ockle newest reader 1Ockle newest reader 2
As you can see she was extremely happy to have a signed copy!
Thank you – reviews are always wonderful to receive.

Words in the Park – An Annual Event Not To Be Missed…

WitP Banner FB and Twitter

Words in the Park is celebrating its 8th successful year. A book fair and sale, which has expanded exponentially since its inception. My writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County has joined forces this year with the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County so that the event also has local artisans sharing and selling their work alongside local authors. As the event will take place on 26th September it runs in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days. There will be a wealth of attractions, music, crafts, food and children’s activities to enjoy – a real fun family day out.

Find unique gifts for family and friends, let the children create and play and try tasty morsels as well as hear readings form authors and music from local artists.

Mark your calendar and come on down to join the fun – 10 am – 4 pm 26th September – Agora, Community Center, 401, Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, Alberta.

I will be there as an organizer but you will be able to purchase my books : Rumble’s First Scare, Ockleberries to the Rescue and The Rython Kingdom.

I will also present prizes to the winners of Rumble’s coloring contest at the end of the day. So get your pictures downloaded and sent in quickly!


There will be extra coloring pictures for Rumble and Ockleberries themed fun quizzes to take home

Book cover

Welcome Inge Trueman and her new book….


What inspired you to write your first book?

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write books. I think it was because Nancy Drew was getting so boring. I suppose, too, I was picking up on the formulaic nature of the structure and figured, “I can do better than that!”

How did you come up with the title When the Wheels Fall Off?

It just kind of came to me like a wheel falling off a truck and smacking me in the head. It was perfect since the novel deals with the protagonist’s deep desire to take up drag-racing at the same time that she’s messing up her life with her car-crazy boyfriend.

 When the Wheels

Is this your first book?

No. My first book is called A Root Beer Season, which is a prequel to When the Wheels Fall Off. A Root Beer Season is told from the point of view of 15 year old Sonja Pfeiffer, who, driven by a surge of adolescent hormones, stumbles through one existential crisis after another.

 Root Beer

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hadn’t planned on any particular message, although the first book might convey to younger readers that even though the kids of the 60s and 70s didn’t spend their days chained to Twitter and Instagram, we did go through much of the same teenage angst that they’re experiencing today. Also, hopefully, it will touch the nostalgic funny bone of a lot of us thick-around-the-middle baby boomers.

How much of your book is realistic?

Although the first book, A Root Beer Season, is based more on real events and the characters are composites of some of the important people in my life at that time, in When the Wheels Fall Off, I found that to move the story in the direction I needed it to go, I had to ‘fictionalize’ almost everything and everyone. And besides, it’s always more fun to make up lies.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favourite and why?

Well, after Sonja, who is the protagonist in the series, I think I would have to go with Dagmar. Even though she is as messed up as Sonja, she does manage to portray a strength of character that helps to guide Sonja through her uncertainties. Sonja needs tough love and Dagmar provides it.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Yes. I love you all and if my books take you along that well-travelled road of shared memories of our good-old-days, then I have succeeded. For my younger readers, please know that we old fogies aren’t that different from you. Life is still about figuring things out for yourself, rebelling where rebellion is due and following your dreams.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

On good days, the way the ideas and inspiration seem to flow effortlessly, like waves lapping onto the shore. Sometimes my fingers can barely keep up with the thoughts and ideas coursing through my brain.

On bad days there is always Facebook and maybe even a load of laundry or two. I’ve been writing long enough to know that even when it seems impossible, a jumble of words and a commitment to fifteen revisions can, in the end, be worked into something coherent and maybe even suitably clever. Oh, and wine o’clock. There is always wine o’clock.

What is your favourite part?

I think it would have to be when I’m working on something that is evoking strong emotions and conflict. As every writer knows, conflict is what makes the reader turn the page. Dialogue is easy for me and I always start there, filling in the beats and descriptions later.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write?

What I’m writing now—about growing up. When you’re young you think all your problems will magically be solved when you reach adulthood. Ha! In truth, that’s when you’re only getting started.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

I can’t think of anything at the moment although I must admit I suck at anything that would require me to get in touch with my inner poet. I don’t have an inner poet. Which is too bad, really because I think writing poetry can make one a better writer.

What book are you reading now?

I always have about three or four books on the go. My bedtime reading is usually non-fiction. I started reading non-fiction many years ago because the fiction was keeping me awake too long and I’d be a complete witch in the morning. That didn’t work. Just ask my kids. Right now I’m reading Joseph Stiglitz’s book called The Price of Inequality. Horrific. It keeps me awake.

For my daily Starbucks getaway, I’m reading Brian Brennan’s Rogues and Rebels and Ahdaf Soueif’s, A Map of Love.

Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?

I’m always watching and waiting for any new books by local writers whom I know personally. I’ve acquired so many books at book launches and readings that I never have to visit a bookstore again. Of course that’s not even a possibility since, well, you know, Starbucks is located inside mega bookstore, Chapters.

Do you see writing as a career?

No. Not for me. Maybe if I sold books like Margaret Atwood I could call it a career. I certainly don’t do it for the money. I don’t think too many writers do. We write because we can’t not write. It’s like some psychotic illness. We hear voices in our heads. We talk to ourselves—sometimes even in public. We eavesdrop on other people’s conversations—all the more interesting when they’re arguing or coming close to fisticuffs. We write it all down. Is it time for my meds yet? Where are my meds?

Do you nibble as you write?

I do, actually, but only my fingernails. When the writing is going well, I forget about eating until I can’t ignore it anymore. If I won the lottery, the first thing I’d do is hire a cook who can remember to take the veggies out of the microwave before the next morning.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I still bite my nails to shreds. No interesting childhood stories come readily to mind but I think, as a child, I would have benefited from a good dose of Ritalin. My fidgetiness was cured with sharp yelling and the odd smack. My childhood was blessedly uneventful, well, except for the smacks.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Mmmm….that’s hard to know. If I win the above mentioned lottery you can look me up in Tahiti or some other tropical paradise. If I don’t win the lottery, I’ll be here, at home, more than likely taking a nap and feeling guilty about not writing.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Time and endless distractions. For me it’s not just a matter of sitting down at the keyboard and pounding out words. I have to be immersed in the story and know where it has to go next so a lot of my planning and plotting is done while I’m doing things that don’t require concentration. Like many writers I know, the best ideas always seem to come just when I’m about to fall asleep. And all writers know how that turns out.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Deadline? No deadlines for me. A deadline would kill me. I’d fidget myself right into an early grave.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Daily. First drafts are exceptionally hate-worthy. Thankfully I know that they can be fixed or deleted.

What book do you wish you had written?

Harry Potter because then I could be sending you this interview from Tahiti or Barbados. Or, maybe that 50 Shades of …….No. Not that one. Not ever. I’d rather shovel snow.

 What is your best marketing tip?

I’m not sure there is any one tip that is better than another. Some writing gurus will say you need a blog and a lot of Twitter followers and the next guru will say that you don’t. I think if you’re not a Kardashian-spectacle or a bombastic Trump, a lot depends on luck. Which brings me back to the lottery…….

There’s only so much room on top of that mountain and no matter what you write and how well you write it, it is luck that will give you the name recognition necessary to put you on top. Either that or you can do something to become infamous. The press loves infamy. The more the better.

Thankfully, I no longer want either fame or infamy. The Buddhists say that it is only desire that will make you unhappy so you must stop desiring. Easy-peasy!

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My third book is another instalment in the Sonja Pfeiffer Series and this one takes her to Fort McMurray and into the world of bush-flying. It’s called Winging It and I’m about halfway through. I’m hoping to launch it sometime in 2017.


How can we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find my books at Audreys Books in Edmonton, Shelf Life and Owl’s Nest Books in Calgary, on Amazon worldwide and at my writing collective website,

A Big Day Tomorrow – Canadian Citizenship…


After living in Canada for eight years, the time has come to take the final step and become a citizen. During my time in Canada, I have been extremely fortunate in making a new life for my family and I. We have experienced friendly and welcoming Canadian’s throughout our time here and have managed to make some firm friends – some so close there are ‘new’ family.

We will take advantage of the option to have dual citizenship as our hearts home is in the green and pleasant land of our childhood, England. We may feel ‘more’ Canadian once the formalities are finalized although, to be honest, we have enjoyed the experience of a diverse culture, the expanse and wonder of the land and even the seasonal changes (yes even winter!) 

As some of you know it was not until I arrived in Canada that I pursued my writing career. It was a promise to myself to find a creative outlet as my children were older and did not require mother’s 24/7 care! Pre-children, I created in many art forms from painting to pottery to textiles to sculpture and many more but the discovery of the written form, propelled me into obsession. If I had not travelled thousands of miles and forged ahead with the acquisition of ‘new’ – I may never have found my muse and my novels would be relegated to another parallel universe instead of this one.

I am thankful for what Canada has given my family and me – it is a new home of opportunity for us. And tomorrow – luck willing – we will become citizens!

Wish us luck….