I was born in St. Catharines, Ontario and grew up with four sisters and one brother, playing among the grapes and orchards of the Niagara Peninsula. My father often travelled to Winnipeg on business and came home saying, "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." We moved there when I was ten.
The move to Winnipeg meant living in a city for the first time in my life. I felt like a caged animal at first. I missed the fields where I could run without stopping, the creek where we used to catch frogs and swim on hot days, picking leeches from between our toes afterwards, and the pond we skated on in winter. But it was also in Winnipeg where I first knew that I would become a writer. I set up a makeshift desk in a little crawlspace off the bedroom I shared with my sister. It smelled like old newspaper and pine cones, and it had a grating I could peek out of to watch people on the sidewalk below.
I filled Hilroy scribblers with stories and my first attempts at novels, usually mysteries, suspiciously like Nancy Drew novels, which supplied the bulk of my reading material at the time.
I've never really stopped peeking through grates at life going on around me. And the best places for me to write are still small and private.
I'm the small one in the corner.