About MeIf you’d asked me when I was a kid what I’d be when I grew up (am I grown up?) I would never have said ‘a writer’. Not in a million years. And in two million + read more years I would never have said, “I will write a YA novel set in the Viking era about a bunch of men and one girl who get trapped in an enclosed space—a haunted 5000-year old enclosed space—for a few days.” But I did.

Under the Mound, the story of a boy who finds his calling when he is forced to hang out with a bunch of Vikings, was published at the same time as Mermaids, my picture book about a South Korean girl who wants to be a haenyo, a mermaid. I was lucky when I wrote Mermaids, because I was actually able to meet some of the women who inspired that story. The Vikings I had to meet between the pages of books written long before I dreamed of writing.

These days I write for all ages, both fiction and non-fiction, and give presentations for all ages as well. My magazine articles in British Columbia Magazine are about interesting British Columbians: AJT Taylor (the man who really got the Lion’s Gate Bridge built), Matthew Begbie, James Douglas, and the people who experienced the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886. When I visit schools I often talk about the difference between writing historical fiction and historical non-fiction, and how fact and fiction work in the different genres. I also talk about the publishing process for books and magazine/newspaper articles. Show Less

My Work Speaker Info Contact Me
You May Know Me For:
    Literature Types
  • Picture Books
  • Chapter Books
  • Primary Grade Nonfiction
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • YA Fiction

Published WorksUnder the Mound

It is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga that in 1153 Earl Harald and his men were caught in a snowstorm in Orkney. They took shelter in the mound of Orkahaugr and there two of them went mad.
Nearly nine hundred years have passed with no explanation for what happened to those men under the mound. Until now. During the Yule season of 1153 Malcolm mac Alasdair is sent to serve the half-Scots, half-Viking Earl of Orkney, who is on a quest to regain his earldom from a treacherous cousin. Malcolm is an artistic boy with no knack for warfare. He is certain that he will only hinder the young earl and get himself killed in the bargain. His father’s reason for sending him on the dangerous venture does nothing to allay his fears: in a vision he has seen Malcolm go to Orkney with Earl Harald. But the vision is incomplete. He has not seen Malcolm return.
This unique novel masterfully blends the historical and archaeological record with medieval Norse beliefs in the story of a boy who journeys to the edges of his world to take on fate, the matter of honour and powers he never dreamed existed.


For hundreds of years women on Jeju Island in South Korea have supported their families by diving to the ocean floor to collect seaweed and the various edible creatures found there. It is Jae Hyun’s dream to be a haenyo, a mermaid, like her mother and grandmother, but her mother forbids it. The life of a haenyo is a dangerous one. She wants a better life, a safer life, for her daughter. Then tragedy strikes and Jae Hyun’s courage is tested, as is her dream. She must prove to herself and to her mother that she is worthy of the choice she has made.

Speaking InformationUnder the Mound is a coming-of-age story about an artistic boy who is forced to go on a journey in service to a Scots-Viking earl, and discovers he is far more + read more than just an artistic boy. I call it historical fiction with a fantasy twist. Some teachers like to have students read one of my historical magazine articles, which are fewer than 2000 words, so that we can explore the differences between writing historical fiction and non-fiction. I also talk about researching stories, the editing process with books and magazines, the publication process and the story behind the story of Under the Mound.

My presentations of Mermaids include delving into the themes of bravery, perseverance, tradition, choosing how we live our lives and define ourselves, and what it is to be a strong person. Groups also learn how to greet others in Korean---including knowing how deeply to bow---how to call someone a friend, how to say goodbye. We recreate the song of the haenyo, which is called sumbi-sori, and I tell the story of the day I met the women who inspired the story. We also measure how deep they dive, and get an idea of how long they can hold their breath. And more!

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    I will visit:
  • Vancouver
  • Lower Mainland
  • Gulf and Vancouver Islands

    I Present to Age Groups:
  • Primary School
  • High School
  • College / University / Adult

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