A long time ago, before anyone had thought of smart phones, MP3 players, or the Roughriders winning the Grey Cup, I was born in Outlook, Saskatchewan. In our pre-television, pre-computer home, my sisters and I entertained ourselves almost entirely by using our imaginations. We built invisible houses in the football field next door, told each other long involved stories, and toured the world in the 1949 Plymouth parked in the back yard.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that I became a writer. I’d been practising ever since I learned to talk.
I started school in Outlook, continued in Drake, and ended in Lanigan. During these years I started a lot of stories and finished a number of poems (they were much shorter). After high school I set all writing aside and went on to STI in Moose Jaw. I’d never met an author and didn’t know that I could be one.
Instead I married a farmer and settled into rural life near Lucky Lake, still in Saskatchewan. Story telling was reserved for long letters to relatives until one warm summer day when I needed to distract my kids while picking peas. Having reminded my brain about writing, I started composing essays in my head, or maybe I’d always done that. This time I transferred them to paper using our ancient manual typewriter and mailed them to Western People magazine. To my total amazement, they were accepted and published.
Having learned that people would pay me to write, I began a small career as a freelance writer, and a larger one as a collector of rejection letters.
Though I tried all sorts of writing, every piece was influenced by my newly discovered rural life. When my children started to read on their own, I discovered how few books there were set on farms, particularly on the Canadian prairies. I decided to write my own.
Anywhere but Here, a mystery for middle year kids, was published in 1996. Nettie’s Journey, another rural story, though this was mostly rural Ukraine, followed in 2005. The New Calf, an easy-to-read, was published in 2007, and Racing Home in 2011.