“She must learn to focus.”
“Vicki could do better.”
I must have driven my teachers crazy. Reading my report cards now makes me cringe but there wasn’t much I could do about my behaviour then. I just had a buzzy brain. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t shut up. I couldn’t stop laughing. I was lucky I went to school in the brief period between the end of the strap and the beginning of Ritalin because I’m sure violence or drugging me into a stupor must have crossed a number of otherwise decent people’s minds.
As I got older, my bounciness became as much a torment for me as it had been for my teachers (my parents, my bosses, my boyfriends…) By my mid-twenties, I despaired of ever making anything of myself. I had all these ideas – but also all these unfinished projects, abandoned degrees, impossible schemes. Who knows what would have become of me if I hadn’t fallen into advertising copywriting? Somehow I’d found a career where being the class clown wasn’t just an asset, it was the norm. All the people I worked with were just like me: jokers, dilettantes, crazies. That’s what we got paid for. That’s why we won awards. For the first time in our lives, we were top of the class.
I eventually left advertising and became a writer and producer of children’s television. (I met my share of class clowns there too.) I loved it but after seven or eight years in the business I realized I was ready for something else. One day, it just popped into my head that I’d like to write a book. In a move that would no doubt shock Mr. Spencer and all the beleaguered teachers who came after him, the girl who could barely sit through a single 45-minute period, sat down and wrote a 40,000-word novel. That was THE PUPPET WRANGLER.
Since then, my career has been devoted to writing books for kids – usually teenaged kids. I hope the books are funny (THE PUPPET WRANGLER), scary (DEAD-END JOB) or both (QUID PRO QUO, PIGBOY, RES JUDICATA, and NINE DOORS). I also occasionally like to do something creepy (I.D.) or heart-breaking (COMEBACK and B NEGATIVE).
In my new teen novel, NOT SUITABLE FOR FAMILY VIEWING, I add a bit of romance to the combo as well. That was so much fun I’m doing it again in my next YA book. (I’m thinking of calling it SWEEPING CHANGES but we’ll see…)
I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where I was born and grew up – but I’m not as much of a homebody as that makes me sound. I’ve lived in Toronto, Quebec, Montreal and, for a little while, Boston, Vancouver and Totonicapan, Guatemala. I’m married and have three kids. I like to sing (badly), draw (badly), play bridge (badly) and scrabble (quite well). I love hiking, reading, taking pictures, going to the cottage, and coming up with new ideas for books.
My secret ambition is to write a musical some day. I’ve recently complete a very short video that I’m quite proud of.
Television and Advertising Work
The Creeps Next Door. Created the tween ghost series, developed with CBC.
Aggie@agony.com. Created the tween comedy series developed with YTV.
Script writer for Ollie’s Adventures, Theodore Tugboat, Food Fun Frenzy, Big Comfy Couch, Sesame Park, Skinamarink TV, Works.
2000 Gemini for Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program for Scoop and Doozie (Episode: “What Rubbish!”)
Nominated for 2000 Gemini – Best Preschool Program or Series Scoop and Doozie
Columbus International Film and Video Festival Bronze Scoop and Doozie (Episode: “Some Bunny Like Me”)
2000 Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Award nomination for Scoop and Doozie: (Episode: “What Rubbish!”)
1999 Gemini nomination for Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program for Scoop and Doozie (Episode: “Au Revoir, Underpants!”)
1996 Gemini nomination for Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program for Theodore Tugboat (Episode: “Hank’s Funny Feeling.”)
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill: IWK Children’s Hospital Campaign
Canadian Association of Professional Advertising Agencies (CAPAA) Gold: IWK Children’s Hospital Gold: ACOA Tourism Bronze: Canadian Unity
IABC Silver Leaf Award: IWK Children’s Hospital
CAPAA Bronze: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Art Directors Club of Toronto Gold: Hewlett Packard Workstation Merit: Hewlett Packard LaserJet Merit: Minwax
The Maggies: Queen Elizabeth Hotel Campaign
Marketing Awards Bronze: FCB Christmas Card
Art Directors Club of Toronto Merit: FCB Christmas Card
Art Directors Club of New York Distinction: FCB Christmas Card
Art Directors Club of Toronto Merit: Rogers Cable Merit: Lufthansa
NAAN Bronze: MT&T