"As a child my grandmother
would tell me 'made up' stories to keep
me out of my mother's hair on washdays. My dad
and mom would read me stories and poems to send me to
sleep, and I would make up stories in my head during math
classes, when I didn't understand something."
"When I had my
own children, I told them
stories all the time at bedtime, for quiet time, and especially
we were driving long distances in the car and they were
bored. "These are
good stories, you should write them down," insisted my husband,
Dave. Well, eventually
I did, and that's how my first book, "The Most Beautiful
Kite in the World", happened.
I started writing
fifteen years ago when
I was living in Alberta, so lots
of my stories have a "Prairie" feel to
them, but they are about issues that concern
people everywhere. Now I live in B.C., on a tiny island
called Pender Island, and my new writing
reflects life out here.
The kite story was first written by
hand, then transferred to
Dave's computer. Now I have
my own computer. It's a laptop so I
can write anywhere. You might meet me writ-
ing on the ferry, on a local beach, or sitting on a bench
in the middle of Victoria. Everywhere I go I take my computer.
I never believed
I could be an author.
It's hard work and each
time I complete a new story
I'm scared of showing it to pub
lishers. It's thrilling though, when it
becomes a book I can share with people.
In fact, the best part of being a writer is when
I visit schools and meet the children who read my writing.
Where do you get your ideas?
"I get ideas from absolutely anything that happens
to me or around me. I'm really nosy and like to talk to
strangers and find out about their lives. I listen to
conversations on the ferry, I watch people and imagine
what they are up to, and I'll ty anything new. I got the
ideas from childrens novel "Finders Keepers" when I fell
in love with a stone point in the Provincial Museum in
Alberts. I imagined what it would be like to find one
in the middle of the Prairies. I never found a point but
I did find a story."
How many books have you written?
"I've written twelve books, some for children, some
with co authors and some for adults. I've three more books
currently going through publishing process. One is full
of neat stories about whales and the people who research
them. It's called Whale Watch and should be out next spring." Note: Since Andrea wrote this she has 12 more books!
How long does it take you to
write a book?
"I'm a slow writer, mainly because I always do a lot
of research for my books. The shortest time it's take
me to write a book was 6 month and the longest 6 years.
I always say I shouldn't be called a writer, a better
name would be a rewriter, because that's what I do most
What suggestions do you have
for young writers?
"If you want to become a good writer, I think you should
try to do three things - read a lot, ask a lot of questions,
and keep a journal or notebook. I did the first two, but
whish I had kept a journal when I was younger, so learn
by my mistakes."
Do you find it hard?
"I find it easy to think up ideas, but hard to find
the discipline to keep rewriting the sotry until I get
it as good as it can be. Sometimes when I'm on the 12th
rewrite I feel like pitching my computer out the window."
Who has inspired you?
"My husband Dave inspired me to write down the stories
I told our children. No one was more surprised thatn I
was when they got published."
Do you do a lot of research?
"I research many thing for my books. Sometimes things
you'd never guess. For Finders Keepers I not only had
to research the Peigan Nations' Culture and how to make
an atlatl, but I had to research boys! You see Dave and
I had three girls and I'd never spent time with a boy,
so I borrowed one. I took a friends son, Ian, away on
a holiday with us and we went to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo
Jump where Finders Keepers is set. Ian taught me a lot
just by being himself. I followed him around. We went
to the Interpretive Centre together. I couldn't have written
a book with two boy characers without his help."
Look at more about Andrea's picture books.
Secret of the Dance
It's Raining, It's Pouring
Me and Mr Mah
Most Beautiful Kite in the
World A Special Gift