I received this award from Janice Horton author of Bagpipes & Bullshot and coming later in 2011, Reaching for the Stars. As it goes, I now have to share seven things about me that you might or might not already know.
1. My first job after graduating from secondary school was as a keypunch operator at a local pharmaceutical company. After that job, I worked at various other local companies mostly in the data entry field. I returned to school when my children were small and got a degree in computer programming. For the past almost 24 years, I’ve worked for the same company in a variety of positions and sometimes more than one at the same time. Now it’s just one – payroll.
2. Before I began primary school, we lived in a winterized cottage along the St Lawrence River. I remember sitting in our yard facing the river, waiting for the Royal yacht Britannia to sail past, Union Jack flag in hand ready to wave when it did. I can’t remember if it was on the same Royal visit, but I remember coming in to town and seeing the Queen’s limo.
The streets were lined with crowds and I was on my father’s shoulders and I asked “When’s Santa Claus coming?” That was my first experience with the Royal Family.
3. My father was British Home Child who was raised at The Orphan Homes of Scotland west of Glasgow. He came to Canada in 1930. I was always fascinated with his history and vowed that the first year I had three week’s vacation, I would go to Scotland to see where he was born and where he was raised. I made that first trip (by myself) in 1993 and have never looked back. I fell in love with the country immediately and knew that was where I would set my novels – especially after discovering a spooky old ruined mansion near my father’s birthplace.
4. Living an ocean apart from where I’ve set my novels has proved to be a challenge. Thankfully, I’ve got good friends and family in Scotland who have answered what they might think are some pretty daft questions by times. I’ve taken loads of photographs on my trips abroad so I can refer back to them when need be. Being a member of the Aberdeen & North East Scotland Family History Society has helped immensely, too. It’s truly amazing how helpful people are when you tell them you’re writing a novel and need help with…
5. My second encounter with the Royal Family came in 1999, when I had the honour of meeting Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne at Quarriers Village (formerly The Orphan Homes of Scotland). The invitation was originally extended on April 1st so I immediately thought it was a prank and someone was yanking my chain but it was legitimate.
6. I use real places and events in my writing. My third (as yet uncompleted) manuscript is based around a helicopter ditching in the North Sea and another I’ve got the concept (TV guide blurb, if you prefer) only done is set in Lincolnshire after the Market Rasen earthquake.
7. I bought my husband and I two small (miniscule) plots of land from Lochaber Highland Estates so we can call ourselves Laird and Lady as we are Scottish land owners.
And now to pass the torch on to seven more versatile bloggers…
Brenda Visser’s The Write Way
Maggie Jagger’s Books and life, historical, paranormal, real
Coreene Smith’s E.C. Ramblings
Brenda Hammond’s What Flutters By
Linda Poitevin’s Angels Gather Here
Catherine Durnford-Wang’s Observations of a Baby Boomer