Why do you write books about the Holocaust?
The Holocaust is an important time period that we all need to know about. But more than that, it is an important event in my family’s history. Both of my parents were survivors of the Holocaust. When I was young, they used to tell me their stories of survival. I grew up determined that I would write those stories down. I wrote The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser because it was a story about my mother. Since then I have continued to write stories of my family and other survivors.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I always loved to write. When I was young I wrote stories and poems. I kept a journal for many years and still keep one. I actually didn’t think about becoming a writer and in fact, decided to become psychologist, a career I loved for many years. About ten years ago, the bug to write hit me again, and I decided I would try and make a go of writing for young people. I never imagined that this would turn into a full second career for me.
What’s your favourite book that you have written?
That’s such a hard question to answer because the truth is I love each and every one of my books, and I’m so proud of the writing that I do. I will say that The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser is particularly special for me because it was my first published book, and because it is a story about my mother.
Who is in your family?
I am married and I have two grown-up children. My daughter is named Gabi – she’s named after my mother, and my son is Jake. Both of my children are in the arts. Gabi has a degree in music from McGill University. She is a wonderful singer and performs musical theatre. Jake is a graduate of the National Theatre School in Montreal and is an amazing actor. My husband, Ian is a lawyer who also happens to love to sing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes between six months and one year for me to finish writing a book. But that’s just the beginning. It may then take many months to make all the changes and do all the re-writing that is necessary to make the book even better. Then the book goes into production to add photos or drawings, to design the cover and finish the layout. So from start to finish, it is often a two-year project.
Are you writing a new book now?
The answer to that is that I am always working on a new book, or thinking of a new story that I’d like to write. I have three or four ideas right now of stories that I’d like to do!
Who is your favourite author and what kind of books do you like to read?
I love reading all kinds of historical fiction. I guess that’s no surprise since that is the kind of book I love to write. I love reading the books that many of my writer friends have written including books by Loris Lesysnski, Teresa Toten, Sharon McKay, Sarah Ellis, Barbara Haworth-Attard, and so many more.
Where do you do your writing?
I think that your writing space is very important. I have a wonderful room at the front of my house where I do my writing. There’s lots of light and my walls are filled with pictures of my family, and even some of the awards that I’ve won for my writing.
Do you have any hobbies?
I admire anyone who can draw. Illustrators are amongst my favourite people! I have been taking courses in water colour painting for years. I don’t think I’m very good, but my walls are covered with the paintings that I have done. I figure that no else will buy my paintings, so I may as well cover my walls with them!
How old are you?
Oh, how I hate to answer that question! I usually tell young people that it’s a secret, along with how much money I make. But I will say that I was born on September 6, 1954. I guess you can figure it out!
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