I love to read. When I was little, I used to read all the time, even when I wasn’t supposed to. I read while walking to school, taking baths, and under the covers at night. I even read when I was supposed to be practicing my violin.
I loved to read books so much that I decided it would be fun to write them. But I wasn’t actually sure you could earn a living writing books, and as it turned out, I was right. Some writers earn a living writing books, but most do other kinds of writing as well.
I became a newspaper reporter. I worked for my high school newspaper, and then I studied journalism at Syracuse University, an hour away from where I grew up in Utica, New York. While I was in journalism school, I worked for the university newspaper, a university magazine, and the university yearbook.
During the summers, I worked at the Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I started out as a proofreader and gradually worked my way up to covering press conferences at local theatres. Among my memorable experiences were being served clam chowder by a very gracious Marie Osmond, and having actor John Ritter’s son, Jason, climb into my lap during a press conference. (The junior Ritter failed to provide any useful quotes, but then again, he was barely two years old.)
After graduating from Syracuse in 1982, I worked at the Concord Monitor, a daily newspaper in New Hampshire, for more than two years. At first I covered high school sports, but eventually I began writing news and feature stories, which I enjoyed and felt more comfortable writing. I helped cover the 1984 U.S. presidential primary, where I had close encounters with Jesse Jackson, Vice President Walter Mondale, and Ohio Sen. John Glenn and his lovely wife, Annie.
From the Monitor, I moved on to writing feature and entertainment stories at the New Haven Register, in Connecticut. I covered the pop music scene in central Connecticut and reviewed many concerts: Madonna, U2, Michael Jackson, Prince, Billy Joel, REM, and a whole lot of other bands that have since gone to rock ‘n’ roll heaven.
While in New Haven, I began taking a writing workshop with a local writer, Alice Mattison. I liked writing short fiction so much that I quit my job and went back to school in 1988, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Cornell University. After that I taught creative writing and journalism at Cornell, Ithaca College, and St. Lawrence University.
In 1992, I moved to Canada to get married. Because I was considered a visitor, not a legal resident, I couldn’t apply for teaching jobs. Instead, I wrote articles for magazines in the United States, including Publishers Weekly and Sports Illustrated for Kids. By the time I became a legal resident, I was so happy freelancing that I decided not to look for a teaching job after all.
My articles, essays, and reviews have been published in Glamour, People, Sports Illustrated, Parents, American Baby, Chatelaine, More Canada, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Washington Post, and many other publications. I have been a writing coach for Alberta Municipal Affairs and a researcher and commentator on CBC radio. I have also written book reviews and a family/humor column for the Edmonton Journal. Since the fall of 2011, I have worked part-time at the University of Alberta, helping (mostly) international graduate students with their writing. Sometimes I even help professors!
I have also written some books. You can find out more about them HERE.
I became a Canadian citizen in 2005. The day before I took the oath of citizenship, my daughter and I went to Churchill Square in Edmonton, where we live, to see Queen Elizabeth. The Queen was doing a walkabout. My daughter, Elizabeth, who was nine, got to meet the Queen and present her with flowers. It was a very exciting day for both of us (and perhaps for the Queen as well).
I’m married to David Wishart, who is a professor in biological sciences and computing science at the University of Alberta. I also have a son, Noah, who was born in 1997. I love baking, cooking, eating, cycling, walking, reading, watching movies, writing, and spending time with my family, not necessarily in that order.