Category Archives: The Stories Behind The Books

Peace Is An Offering

Peace Is An Offering

I wrote Peace is an Offering shortly after 9/11. I knew that after the planes hit the twin towers that the U.S. would go to war and that the world would be irrevocably changed. So I began to write the poem as a text for a picture book for children. I remembering writing it in tears and yet at the same time I was happy because the poem had come so easily.

It was one of those rare moments when inspiration presents a writer with a gift. And I was so certain that the manuscript would be published that I sent it to several New York editors without thinking about the timing.

The editors rejected it, explaining that the political situation at the time was too much in flux. In hindsight, I realized that they were right. After 9/11 people felt shock and sadness, but they were also understandably angry.

And so I filed the manuscript away in a drawer. Three days after 9/11, I was scheduled to fly to Ottawa for an author’s visit. I cancelled my trip as I was too scared to fly.

In the spring of 2013, I sent the manuscript to my agent on a whim. He rejected it, telling me that he thought the text would be too difficult to illustrate. It wasn’t until the Sandy Hook school shootings occurred that he realized that the timing might be right for such a book and Dial Books for Young Readers, the publisher of Circle of Cranes, quickly accepted it.

Luckily Dial chose the talented up-and-coming Brooklyn artist Stephanie Graegin, to illustrate the text. Her charming rendition of children of many nationalities against a backdrop of her own neighbourhood brought my words to life in the best way possible. Of all my books, Peace is an Offering is my favourite. For now, anyway.

Circle Of Cranes

Circle Of Cranes

“Write what you know” is good advice to writers, but sometimes “write what fascinates you” makes a more interesting, though longer journey.     Circle of Cranes was inspired by real life events. A series of migrant ships were intercepted off the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia in the summer of…Continue Reading

Salmon Creek

Salmon Creek

I was inspired to write Salmon Creek after I witnessed the endangered wild coho return home to their spawning grounds in Codd Wetland in Pitt Meadows, BC.   Codd Wetland harbours 99 species of plants and animals.  It is also nesting site of a pair of Greater Sandhill cranes.  When the landowner threatened to dig up…Continue Reading

Wild Bog Tea

Wild Bog Tea

I wrote Wild Bog Tea as a plea to preserve Blaney Bog.  This rare and hidden wetland, located in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was slated for an industrial cranberry operation.  Members of the Pitt Polder Preservation Society and myself launched a grassroots campaign to preserve the bog.  After three years of raising awareness, letter-writing, fundraising…Continue Reading

Miracle at Willowcreek

Miracle at Willowcreek

Miracle of Willowcreek is based on my experiences fighting another development proposal on the Pitt Polder.  In the novel, the main character, Tess, and her friends take a courageous stand against developers in order to save a small flock of Sandhill cranes. When Tess and her friends encounter a wonderful bird woman named Clara, adventure…Continue Reading