Writing is STORY, and stories change the world.
So, here’s my confession. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. The deeper confession? I really wanted to be a superhero. MY FAMILY IMMIGRATED FROM GUYANA TO CANADA TO ESCAPE THE COUNTRY’S POLITICAL AND RACIAL VIOLENCE, which was great. But when I was growing up in Calgary, I was often the only coloured kid in class and usually the only mixed race kid, too (Chinese, African, West-Indian, East-Indian), which led to funny moments and moments I wish I could forget. For sure, I GREW UP FEELING DIFFERENT FROM…WELL, EVERYONE. Thank goodness for books and comic books, cause boy, where those things *full* of weird, oddball, don’t-quite-fit-in characters who actually turned out to be amazing and cool and, yep, kind of super-heroic.
Which was awesome because it meant I could live through their adventures. I knew I’d never grow up to be a superhero. I’m scared of bugs, trip over my feet, and am easily defeated by anything bright and shiny. SUPERMAN WILL NEVER INVITE ME TO JOIN THE JUSTICE LEAGUE. So I went to university and got a degree in Psychology *but* wouldn’t you know it, while I was there, I found out something amazing. Actually, I found out a bunch of somethings amazing. Like stories change brain chemistry and WRITING CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND HELP SPEED UP THE BODY’S HEALING PROCESS. And, oh yeah, when you read, it’s like this crazy, amazing, awesome literary magic trick between you and the writer.
How cool was that? READING AND WRITING, the things I did because it made me feel okay to be different, actually TURNED OUT TO BE SUPERPOWERS. Finally, *finally* I could be a superhero. More than that, through my characters I could be anything I wanted to be. And best of all, I COULD WRITE STORIES THAT HELP KIDS FIND THEIR INNER SUPERHERO.
I write for kids and teens, and I love mixing mystery, action, and creepy with a whole lot of humour. My books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).
The funny, sad, embarrassing moments of my life aren’t just part of my books, they’re part of my presentationS, too. I LOVE USING ALL THE TIMES I FELT DIFFERENT TO SHOW KIDS THAT AT HEART, WE’RE ALL THE SAME. Students enjoy my sessions because I make them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.
My novels include Sleight of Hand (CCBC Best Pick Starred Selection), Guardian (CCBC Best Pick, Sunburst Award nominee, and Moonbeam Award winner). My latest works include the Burned (Retribution series), Lark Holds the Key (the Lark Ba series), Across the Floor, and Gatekeeper (the Guardian series). Oh, and my final confession? Writing is the hardest thing I’ll ever do, but I love it because WRITING IS STORY, AND STORIES CHANGE THE WORLD.