I was born on November 19th, 1952. I was the youngest in my family, and the only girl, so although I might look like a sweet little lady in this photo, I wasn't. I was a tomboy who HATED wearing frocks and skirts, and preferred games like Cowboys & Indians and Space Explorers. I did play with dolls, though, and if you look closely, you'll see the left back leg of the unfortunate cat I had dressed in doll clothes. I also loved fairies, holding tea parties, and playing school. Maybe that's why I grew up to be a teacher.
My family lived in two countries while I was growing up. I went to school in both England and Canada and have dual nationality, but don't really have the accent of either place. Perhaps I have a mid-Atlantic accent! We crossed the Atlantic several times, usually by ship.
In 1966, my family stopped moving between countries and settled in Kelowna, B.C., where I still live. After high school my BFF and I spent the summer backpacking around Europe. Later, I travelled on my own as well. I've been to quite a few countries. In this photo I was in Egypt. My camel was nice, but the one ridden by the girl ahead of me kept turning its head and trying to bite her knee.
After I became a teacher, I mostly worked in Canada, but in 1977, I went to Belize in Central America to work with young children taking part in a World Peace & Development programme. In the picture, we're doing the 'Bear Hunt', but for them, I made it an alligator hunt.
I’ve never been married, but in 1991, I adopted a son. He doesn't look very happy in this picture because he'd only just come from India and wasn't sure if he liked me. He's grown up now and works in the film industry. (See below.)
With the exception of the fictional planets featured in my sci-fi novels, I've lived in or visited all of the places in my books. This photo of me and my son was taken in Herculaneum when I was in Italy doing research for Time Rose Book 5: The Volcanic Rose. We had a wonderful guide by the name of Mimma Macri, and learned a lot.
Though I have now retired from teaching, I sometimes still do interactive history units with 6-13-year-olds, just for fun. Here I'm operating a market stall, where kids could buy medieval items with gold coins they'd earned participating in various activities. We've also explored Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, and the Victorian era.
My favourite books as a child were The Secret Garden, the Jennings school series, and almost everything by Enid Blyton. My favourite TV shows were after-school historical adventure series like William Tell and Richard the Lionheart, and shows like Thunderbirds, Lost In Space, Voyage To The Bottom Of the Sea, and Dr. Who, which might account for my interest in both the past and the future. As a teen, I favoured books by Norah Lofts, Robert A. Heinlein, and P.G. Wodehouse. My favourite movie was, and still is, the 1957 version of The Kidnappers.
From the age of seven or so, I also wrote books, stories, and plays, of my own. Back then I wrote them by hand, not moving on to a typewriter until I was in my teens. My early published work (stories and articles) were produced on a typewriter, too, but I now use a computer—with a little help from my cat.
Other interests include reading, traveling, and supporting the work of such organizations as Families For Children (FFC). I also like watching films and TV and going to the theatre, which is only to be expected since my son is actor/filmmaker Richard Duke. As such I even have the honour of being an Associate Producer on his short film: