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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Author's visit.

Heather met a class of elementary children yesterday and presented her Patti books. She talked first about the different kinds of writing, fiction and non-fiction, and discussed this with the students. Then she pointed out that in the Patti books, which were definitely fiction, the characters and events were often patterned after actual characters and situations that she had met in her life's travels. So things were more complicated than the simple test of 'did this happen?' might appear. She gave the example of a snowy scene in her fictional story, and her sister who shared her life said that she did not remember that extreme a snowfall on the farm in Ontario. “ It is fiction”, she had replied, “I needed that much snow for the story”.

When we tell a true story we select, emphasis, adjust,and then present the facts as we remember them. In a fictional story we can go even further. In the end though we have a story to tell and in the Patti books selected events are changed and elaborated to express an idea more convincingly. Heather’s childhood friend Joan, for example, was someone she knew on the farm and she captured the essence of that personality and her life situation, but from there on the Joan of the books was a development into fiction. A fiction however that revealed the character 'Joan' more fully and thoughtfully than the original fragment of 'reality' could have done.

Heather handled this 3/4 split class very carefully: handling an important subject with a light touch and in a way that would help them with their own writing and then she moved on to a reading from 'Life on the Farm' where Patti meets the quarter horse 'Little Guy' and we begin the transition to the next book in the series.

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