About Me

I hate talking about myself, but apparently I have to. Here goes.

Me and my goofy cat live in a Toronto apartment full of very colourful things. I miss the quiet of the rural surroundings I grew up in, but I enjoy the sights and sounds of the city … when I feel like going out. I often spend time in the park or at the Royal Ontario Museum, and sitting by the lake just makes me happy. I eat all the foods.

I’m one of those people who does a little bit of everything, a Jacqueline of all trades and master of some, mostly the artsy ones. I’m a freelance editor by trade, but I do a lot of writing, too, mostly poetry and unfinished novels. In writer circles, I’m what you call a “pantser” (I don’t put a lot of effort into planning my stories before I start writing), so I’ve hit some major plot snags. In one case, I actually stopped a novel because I realized that my main character should have developed rickets from being trapped underground so long, but changing the length of time she spent in the dark meant changing the reason she was there, and this in turn required me to completely rethink my worldbuilding. Rickets destroyed my entire world. Seriously.

I’ve put a few novels on the backburner, but they are never far from my mind. Like any good author, I do a bit of research and I pay attention to information that can help me rebuild my broken universes. Bit by bit, some of these stories begin to take a new shape; other times, they get stuck in my private slush pile. Sometimes, though, I get lucky and a story just works.

Black Wolf: The Binding of Loki just kind of happened. I got an idea, started researching it, started writing, and before I knew it the narrative galloped off faster than Sleipnir across Idavöll Plain. In true pantser fashion, I continually changed the story’s precise trajectory as I continued writing and researching, but by some miracle I managed to write 242,000 words in fifty-five weeks. And it was pretty damned good for a first draft. While I work at getting that book published, I’ve started the follow-up book, The Fires of Jötunheim, which tells the story behind Ragnarök from the perspectives of the Jötun (the so-called giants).

I’ve been focused on writing fantasy the last few years now, but those books I’ve got simmering in the background are all science fiction. These are a little trickier for me, because I don’t like doing a lot of hand-waving and brushing details under the rug. On the whole, fantasy gives you a lot more license to play with reality, but if you screw up the science in your sci-fi, your readers will get migraines from rolling their eyes. The result is that I often get frustrated with my science fiction projects and set them aside.

Nonetheless, the years I’ve spent writing and thinking about writing and critiquing other peoples’ writing has helped me solidify my own style, while my personal experiences and research across a wide variety of fields have helped me create complex characters and develop intricate philosophies to underpin my stories. All that love and frustration I feel towards the human species gets transmogrified into words that other people generally seem to enjoy reading.

I also create visual arts, mostly graphite sketches and chalk pastel, but I’ve gotten into watercolour painting and decorative embroidery in the last few years. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to make something while watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for the thousandth time. What can I say—I love making things and I hope people also love the things I make. Maybe you’ll like a few of them, too.

Una


Frida Kahlo: I just want your serious opinion.
Diego Rivera: What do you care about my opinion? If you’re a real painter, you’ll paint because you can’t live without painting. You’ll paint till you die.

Frida, 2002