The universe is large. Life is short. Meaning is hard to find.
Writing seems to be the one (the only) way I can address these facts and how they impact our unique situation. I can think of no superior art form to discipline my creative capacity, limited as it may be. There appears to be no better way to commune with the vast emptiness—and our endless search for deities. No more articulate means to explore the intricacies of human relationships and human isolation.
I was born in the city of Montreal, the centre of French culture in North America. I loved living there but had to leave when I realized I desperately needed a new space which I could claim as my own.
My dearest friends are very close to me. I suspect most would say that I am a private person. They would tell you that I worry about the future, that I do my best to live in the present and that my past is a mystery. These three characteristics ensure this profile will never exceed eight or nine paragraphs. As an advocate of minimalism, I admire such brevity.
I took my BA in English at the University of New Brunswick, earned a teaching certificate at Simon Fraser University and after teaching high school English for a few years, I completed a masters degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. In 1978 I moved to Victoria, a beautiful seaside community of 330,000 people where I spent the next few years working in a psychiatric hospital before taking a break to write my first publishable novel, Fire Eyes.
I am married and have two children, grandchildren, and there are more on the way. Family life is the centre-piece of my personal happiness. Somehow, all of us maintain a dedication to one another that does not impede our independent interests and goals. Achieving this state of grace is the greatest surprise of my life. I never expected it and often wonder how I have been so fortunate.
Although I learned to read in the first grade, I wasn't attracted to books until I encountered The Count of Monte Cristo at the age of ten or so. Immediately I understood the power of scenic structure and characterization. I was hooked. Soon I began to write short pieces, stories, non-fiction, speculations. On a rainy day I would shut the door to my bedroom, write a few pages, staple them together and present them to my parents and two older sisters. They were kind enough to indulge my need for praise. A mistake, perhaps.
My first novel, Fire Eyes, was a finalist for the 1987 W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award. A second novel, Healing the Dead (1992), has been translated into German as Todliche Ahnungen (1995). Both novels were optioned for films. The Good Lie was published by Turnstone Press in the fall of 2007.
While the writing life may appear to be ideal, in my case such scant production does not pay the rent. Since 1988 I worked at the University of Victoria where I taught fiction and journalism for ten years and coordinated the Professional Writing Cooperative Education Program. From time to time I've also freelanced as a business writer and journalist. In the fall of 2010 I completed my stint at the university so that I could write on a full-time basis.
But enough about me. I would be delighted if you spend a few hours reading my books. There can be no better way to understand an author's various fixations.
I’m always interested in hearing from readers; feel free to contact me.