FAQs

Q: How long does it take to write a book? 

A: For me, it varies. I feel like it takes me about 3 months to write the first draft, and then after that it can be a year of revising or totally restructuring, because my first drafts are often a dog's breakfast, but I need to get something out to start. 

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: I stare out a lot of windows and they flit around my head until I grab them or they settle down. I remember hearing Stuart McLean say that ideas are a dime a dozen; it's getting them into books that is the work, and boy, is that true!

Photo credit: Kat Keenan Photography

Q: Are there book ideas that haven't worked out?

A: Oh yes. The sacrificial lamb, the ideas that I just couldn't work through. It doesn't happen much anymore, as I know more now about what works and what doesn't, and why.

Q: When do you write? Where?

A: I like best to write in the morning or at night, when everyone else is in bed, and usually at my local cafe on days I'm not at Ryerson for classes or meetings, in which case there is a cafe there I go to before my classes or meetings. I try and write whenever I can. Sometimes it's just re-reading what I wrote, sometimes it's outline/brainstorming or fiddling with a paragraph, and sometimes it's full-on. 

Q: How do you fit writing in with being a full-time professor?

A: There is no job like the one I have, and I am so fortunate to have it. It allows me so much flexibility, and Ryerson supports my writing with great gusto. Plus, I absolutely love teaching. My students give me energy, they inspire me, and my job is constantly changing. Ultimately, I love to write, and so I find the time to work it in. 

Q: Are any of your books or characters based on anyone you know? 

A: No. As a writer, I like to observe people, to absorb anecdotes and attributes. But no character can ever be someone else for me. They have to be themselves. 

Q: What kind of books do you like to read?

A: I'm a book junkie, a fanatic. I read all different kinds of novels, but I love literary, commercial and historical fiction.