More About Laurel...
Q & A with the author
What books did you read when you were young?
Laurel: It all began with fairy tales. There’s a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf for Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Fairy Tales - scribbled on, tattered, binding completely come undone. To this day, I feel wonder and awe when I open it (carefully, it has fallen apart after all) and turn its pages.
I discovered chapter books when I was seven. I devoured Heidi (I could taste that bread and toasted cheese her grandfather made for her) and Anne of Green Gables (why oh why did I have a sister and four brothers? I should have been an orphan) and Nancy Drew (all of them, late into the night, with a flashlight). We often lived in remote areas, no libraries, so I read whatever was available: Classic Comic Books, The Childcraft Library (front to back and then back to front), National Geographic, cereal boxes. I loved Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour (I was 12, living in northern Manitoba, the commissary pretty much only sold cowboy books). And Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland and Jane Aiken Hodge (I was 13, still living in Northern Manitoba, my teacher’s wife was from England, she got me started)...
Jake: Mom, Ma, Mommy, Laure, Mom. Don't forget.
Laurel: Awwwww - my not-so-little-anymore, former reading buddy - you want to make sure I don't forget to list all the books we used to read together in the reading chair?
Jake: No - I know you'll list them - I don't want you to forget I'm borrowing your car today. Better yet - I'm running late - any chance you can drop it off to me?? In the next ten minutes???
Were you always a writer?
Laurel: No. For a very long time I dreamed about being a writer. I had grand intentions - I bought some very pretty journals - but I never actually got around to sitting down and, well, writing. I ended up giving the pretty journals away, to my daughters, but I didn’t give up the dream. It was fun and it was easy, dreaming, until one morning I woke up and said, “I have to do this. Now.” I enrolled in ‘True to Life: Writing Your Own Story’ at Ryerson in the fall of 2003. I had absolutely no idea what Creative Non-Fiction was. It didn’t matter. It was a writing class. And, more important, it was an afternoon writing class - it ended early enough for me to hurry back to Markham in time to pick up Allie and Jake from school. It was one of the best decisions I ever made...
Allie: Whoa! Mommy. Back up.
Laurel: Whaaat? Where to? The part about me picking you up?
Allie: Further back.
Laurel: The pretty journals? I remember giving one to Shannon and one to Caitie, I’m sure I gave one to you. Didn’t I?
Allie: It’s a journal. Who cares? I’m talking about the dreaming. You’ve always told us to go for it, do it, don’t hold back, blah-blah-blah, and it takes you until you’re 47 to start writing? Mommy. You gotta practice what you preach.
When you (finally) became a writer, did you go out and buy more journals?
For some reason, I can’t write in journals - must have something to do with my stockpiling days. I use a computer. A laptop, so I can move around, room to room, my kingdom for a quiet spot. Also, I have an addiction to sticky notes. I’ve tried to wean myself - I’ve experimented with plain old 8 1/2 x 11 paper, sketch pads, notebooks - but I always relapse back to Post-it notes. Words, sentences, ideas, stuck together in messy piles. Trails of them. Oh, and I like the pastel ones - pale pink, blue, yellow. I only use the neon ones when I’m desperate - they’re too loud...
Caitie: No offence, Mommy, but that’s really weird.
Laurel: Hey, I’m trying to answer these questions as honestly as I can. Okay? Maybe by coming forward, admitting it, I can help some other author out there confront their own weirdness.
With four kids and a husband when do you find time to write?
Laurel: And four grandkids!
With four kids and a husband AND four grandkids when do you find time to write?
Laurel: That’s a tricky one, finding - establishing - a balance...
Shannon: Mommy, what are you doing for dinner?
Laurel: I'm not sure, something simple for Daddy and me.
Shannon: Pizza is simple! If you order it now it'll arrive when we arrive!! We're already on our way!!!
Ummmmm - Is there a point to this Q & A?
Laurel: Well...the point is that - even with a late start and lots of interruptions - I AM writing. In fact, I just started a new story.
Mike: A new story! This calls for a celebration!! Party!!!
Laurel: Hold on a minute, dear husband, it's not finished yet...
Mike: But it will be. I'll organize the music!
Shannon: I’ll order the cake!
Caitie: I’ll help you pick a new outfit!
Allie: I’ll just sit around and look pretty!
Jake: Me too!
When Laurel isn’t busy with her family or reading or writing, she loves to ride her bike - but only in fair weather and on fairly flat surfaces ... preferably in Italy.
Laurel lives in Toronto, Ontario.