Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I´m a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. I’ve won prizes for my short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies.
I grew up on a farm/ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where my love of reading inspired me to travel the world and write stories. Over the years I held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever I had a few spare minutes. I am now retired and have a home in Spain where I write full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for my books, I like to spend time with my husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.
I have written eight books in the series, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is my latest book. My husband and I visited Malta as a stop on a cruise. We were blown away and wanted to see more of this amazing place. A year later we spent a week exploring all three main islands. While there I kept saying, Amanda would just love it here. Travel often inspires me.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I take a lot of pictures and notes while visiting an interesting place with plans to include the setting in a book eventually. Some people think that this may spoil the holiday as I am constantly working, but I think it enhances the trip as I tend to notice more of the unique details.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Lucy Maude Montgomery, Jane Austen, Kate DiCamillo, Margaret Atwood and Margaret Laurence are a few of the authors who have influenced me. Books with strong female characters stick with me.
What are you working on now?
I am working on Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. Yes, Amanda is in Paris when Notre Dam burns. She meets a number of suspicious characters who may or may not be responsible for this terrible crime. Amanda and her friend Leah get to sleep in a bookstore, sample delicious French cuisine, and visit the Louvre, Versailles and Monet´s amazing gardens. For a book lover, history buff and amateur sleuth, this is the perfect place for Amanda and she quickly falls in love with France.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I find my blog is my best site for promoting my books. I belong to a fabulous blogging community that help promote each other’s work. Sites like Awesome Gang are great to be part of as well.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you have an idea for a book, start writing. The only way it will get finished is if you start right now. Keep writing. Some days you won’t produce much of value but it is all good practice. I would also suggest you join a writer’s critique group. It is so valuable to get feedback from other writers.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don´t give up! Don´t worry that you are not a good enough writer. The more you write, the better you will get.
What are you reading now?
I am reading The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This author has such an amazing way with words.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I would like to compile a collection of short stories about growing up in the Canadian prairies in the fifties and sixties. It was a magical time and I would love future generations to know about it. I have more ideas for other Amanda travels books as well.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would bring War and Peace, The Bible, Pride and Prejudice, and Little Women