About Heather

Heather has lived on a Canadian Gulf Island for most of her life, but when she was ten or so she lived on a farm in Southern Ontario and that experience is fictionalized in the Patti Stories. However, many of Patti's experiences are a blend of that setting and of raising her own family of three girls in a rural setting on Saltspring Island. These stories draw on the realities of both places and it is this that gives Heather's writing that extra ring of truth.

Heather has been a teacher, a CUSO volunteer in South America, and has sailed the Pacific in a wooden schooner. She has two BA s from the University of Victoria, in English and Psychology and in Creative Writing. She has also published poetry and magazine articles.

She is presently writing an adult novel set on the West Coast.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Becoming a writer

Many years ago, after we returned to Canada from Guyana where we had been teaching with CUSO, Heather began to write a short story about some character in a tropical country and she showed me her first page.... Perhaps, no certainly I was insensitive because when I read that “Aleel could not steal” I bust out laughing. Oh, oh! She began again but this time the newly named character “Aleep, could not sleep” and, brute that I am, I laughed some more. And that was the end of Heather's creative writing for a long time.

When her children were in University many years later she began again in the Creative Writing program at U Vic. This time I did not laugh and anyway she had hit her stride at last. She had published an article in 'Cruising World' about our family's voyage in the Bahamas on our catamaran 'Amazon' and that portfolio got her into the program. But, it turned out, non fiction did not have the same draw for her that poetry and fiction did. Thus began some exciting and expressive years of writing where teachers and fellow students really valued what she wrote. And what she wrote came busting out after being bottled up for so long! Years of life and adventure provided the material and perspective and she provided the passion to express herself at last.

Heather's writing style benefited immensely from her studies in the Creative Writing department. Her writing seems very simple and transparent. We read her prose so easily that we step directly into the lives she has created. Her story advances mostly through dialogue that sparkles. I've read and talked over much of what she has written over the years so I am aware of how her life stories have been transformed into fiction and it still amazes me that she can do this so well. Technique can be learned through study but that something extra that stems from personality and expression is what makes the Patti Stories into great literature for all ages.

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