A lifelong curiosity about how I happened to be born here in Canada makes me love history, particularly as it affects my life. Authors such as Colleen McCullough, Sharon Kay Penman and Pierre Berton have taught me that history told well, with a beating heart and a burning desire for adventure, is about as exciting and worthwhile as stories can get. When I decided to write my first full-length historical novel it was natural for me to choose Loyalists caught up in the American Revolution as I trace my roots back to members of Butler’s Rangers, a famous force under the command of Colonel John Butler, who fought valiantly for the King.
I love to imagine myself where our ancestors have trod and do just that with John and Lucy in The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy (2016). As a young girl raised on a farm in rural Ontario by parents who believed in showing their children all that life could offer, I often stole off by myself and walked the field lane dreaming my stories or drawing with crude paper and pencil. That time alone was also special as I am part of a large family. Someone was almost always nearby.
While I’ve always written such things as family histories, take-offs on poems for my high school students and storybooks for my grandchildren, my writing dreams became really insistent once I retired from teaching. My son asked me if there was anything I wished I had done. When I answered “write a novel”, he said, “If not now, when?” From that moment on I was off on a wonderfully rewarding journey fraught with insecurities but always engaging and fulfilling.
My journey in the last few years has been to learn all I can about writing well and producing work of which I am proud. For a perfectionist, that is hard. Researching the Loyalists has led to acquiring a huge amount of knowledge of the topic and that, in turn, has made me a sought-after speaker for adult groups of all kinds. Readers, history buffs, United Empire Loyalist groups, book clubs, university groups and many others have let me tell them about our history, my writing life, my books and my connection to the early roots of Ontario.
My husband has picked me up when I faltered, encouraged me when I flagged, and celebrated with me wholeheartedly when I succeeded. I am truly a lucky woman.