I had an active imagination ever since I was little. I would dream up all kinds of things. I could imagine myself in many different locations and situations but I never wrote anything down but did make up all kinds of interesting pastimes. One time I made little dishes from a pile of clay that came out of the cellar when the back entrance was made. Lilac leaves became money when we played doctor or store. Our medicine was the fresh peas out of the garden.
I grew up on a farm the fourth in a family of five. My parents were older, almost old enough to be my grandparents. They were set in their ways and didn’t want to go out much, especially my father. We went to a lot of family functions but this was my mother’s family because my father was an only child. There weren’t any aunts and uncles in his family in the area either.
We had a special play area at school to get away from older kids who played too rough on the playground equipment. It was a secluded spot hidden behind trees near the girl’s outhouse. We would often play school, house and other games.
I did the required assignments in school but nothing ever jumped out and got anyone’s attention. I was one of the worst students and didn’t do very well in spelling or literature. Arithmetic was my worst subject. One thing I loved doing was reading and read every book I could get my hands on. This occupied a lot of my time. I would often have a novel hidden in my school books when I was supposed to be studying.
I grew up during the nineteen fifties and there weren’t any girls that I knew of that wanted to be writers or artists. It just wasn’t heard of. It was discouraged because it wasn’t what was considered to be a way to earn a living. Writing and art were down there on the same level as models. Most girls trained for careers as nurses, teachers, secretaries and then went on to get married after a year or two if they met the right man. After high school I took a hairdressing course and now that I think about it probably wasn’t the right choice. I really didn’t have any ambition at the age and all I really wanted was to get married and have a family.
There were a few women writers that I admired. One of them was LM Montgomery the author of Anne of Green Gables and other books. She wrote her books in the years before Wold War I when women didn’t go out and earn a living at all. If they did they went to teachers college and taught school for a year or two. She was determined to earn a living with her pen and she did. There were other writers during the Victorian age that earned a living with their pens. For some women it was acceptable to do this because it didn’t interfere with their womanly duties.
Ever since I was little I made up stories in my head and often acted them out but none were written down. During a high school English exam I wrote a story about being stuck in a revolving door.I had never seen one let along heard of such a thing. This counted for fifty percent of the final mark. I did pretty good with that story.
It wasn’t until I was married and had children that I started taking courses. First it was an art course by correspondence and from there I joined local art groups. I put work in shows and sometimes even sold an occasional piece.
I took several writing courses by correspondence but never finished any of them. I kept giving up on it. Then I purchased a book on writing picture books and came up with some good story ideas. One I completed, Gramma Mouse Tells a Story, and illustrated. It is now in a binder and I am not sure where to go with it from there. After I finished the rough draft of this picture book I was going through the list of suggestions at the back of the book. There was an idea that jumped out at me. It was about a girl and a cat. I thought of the time my oldest daughter adopted a cat. I started asking the questions Where? When? Who? Why? I scribbled it out in many different ways and realized I had more than a picture book. I didn’t know how to put a book together.
So I started taking a course. Around that time I had a series of dreams where I was holding books with nothing inside and nothing on the cover. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to write the book and do the cover. I took another online course which I finished and my book Bess’s Magical Garden came to be. It took several revisions to complete it. One time I lost a good portion on the computer but did manage to find most. I had to rewrite it and came out with a better story. I started to send my book to publishers and some gave many helpful suggestions. Some I used and some I rejected. I finally got the courage to send it out one more time and even though they didn’t accept my book the remarks were encouraging. Shortly afterwards I decided to self-publish when I had moved to a scenic small town.
I am now working on two more middle grade novels. One is a sequel to Bess’s Magical Garden titled The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin. In this book Bess’s uncle starts to renovate the kitchen. When he is taking the plaster off the wall he discovers a window that looks into an old cabin. Inside there are suitcases, a trunk and old journals that he takes over to Bess’s. Bess starts to read the journals to discover an old mystery that she is determined to solve. I just finished a round of revisions and have set it aside for a few weeks. I have learned not to get in too big of a hurry.
The second book is the The Secrets of Whistling Pines. This is about a twelve year old girl who is given an assignment to write a paper about her family history. She picks the Victorian Manor where she and her mother live. She discovers some things about her grandmother and great aunt and decides to explore further. This distracts her while she copes with her parents divorce and tries to deal with her Great Aunts hording problem. While she helps her mom clear out the old family home many hidden and forgotten family items are found.
I also write short stories. One is The Ghostly Encounter which I am submitting to a website that publishes series.
Bess’s Magical Garden can be purchased with Amazon and Friesen Press. Links below.
I can also be found on goodreads: