For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved books, and I started that love affair early. My mother always had a book in hand, and she introduced me to Trixie-Belden and the wonderful stories about a young girl who solved crime when I was still in elementary school. But books were a luxury, and the store-bought books that came through our door were few and far between. I soon discovered though, that the library had what seemed to me, an endless supply.
As a teenager, I spent hours in the library, browsing the shelves, searching for interesting stories and when I found an author I liked, I read everything they published. One summer, it was Jane Austen’s books, another year Agatha Christie filled my days. My tastes were eclectic – and still are – I just wanted a good story and authors like Isaac Asimov, James Clavell, Robert Ludlum, J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark delivered.
But the books I read about far-away places, Russian spies and early Britain, also sparked an interest in world politics, history, geography, art and culture. They opened up the world to me, and they stirred my imagination.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a scientist, and that’s where my education and career took me, but there’s always been a part of me that wanted to write. In science, we explore, discover and experiment – we investigate mysteries. So I suppose it’s only natural that when I did take that first step, I wrote Thirst, a suspense thriller.
But as a writer I’ve taken on the challenge of creating a mystery rather than solving one, and it is a challenge! Too many clues or too few, a simple plot or one that’s too complex, slow vs fast pacing – all of these elements have to be carefully considered as I construct my story. Above all, I want to give people a story they can immerse themselves in, a story I would like to read too.
There’s no doubt that the authors of my childhood greatly influenced me, and so have the many authors I discovered as an adult. I still prowl the library, searching for a good read, and I still take great delight in finding a new author. And if you had told me when I was a young girl that I would one day see my own novel on those library shelves, I wouldn’t have believed you, but a few weeks ago that’s exactly what happened.
As much as I’m been overjoyed to see Thirst in stores, it’s the libraries that I’m most proud of. Libraries make books that entertain, teach and inspire available to everyone regardless of age, income or education, and they power dreams. Without that library in my small hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
I’m at the beginning of my writing career, but perhaps one day a reader will find my Alex Graham series on the library shelves and it will inspire them to search out more authors, or to write their own book.