It was a brief interaction with a young girl one summer that seeded the beginnings of "Mel Tulley's" character. In the weeks that followed  I wrote this poem. During the writing of A Tinfoil Sky I would occasionally revisit this poem, and by doing this I would find that I was able to rekindle the emotion that I felt that day. Both the name of the girl and the street are fictional. Composing a poem response to a novel is one of the suggestions in my novel study for A Tinfoil Sky. I'd love to read the poems you come up with!

Inspiration poem for the character of Mel Tulley


It's amazing to me that almost five years after Dear Toni, was published that I am still hearing from kids who are enjoying the story. I love that Gene, Toni, Winn, and The Fly all continue to live on through the reading and imaginations of people from all over the world. Wow! And now with A Tinfoil Sky published, I know that some of you are getting to know Mel. She is definitely someone worth knowing! At least that is how I feel. She inspires me!

This is one of the most fantastic aspects of being an author.  Why, you ask. Well, for most of the time you are writing you are alone with these characters; their personalities and their experiences are slowly taking form. Then, all of a sudden, they  take on a life of their own and  the next thing you know they are telling you the story, and before you know it the story is finished. The characters (which  feel like real people) are soon to be in the hands of readers, both discovering and being discovered. 

 "A story and its characters are nothing more than simple keystrokes inked to a page. It is the reader who breathes life into the characters, allowing them to truly live." A quote from A Tinfoil Sky acknowledgements

Of course this is not only the case for my books, it's for all stories, all characters. I just love the idea of characters from a book all resting on the page.  I can imagine their growing anticipation when the book is lifted from the shelf, perused, and then clutched in the arms of the potential reader.  

Perhaps the next time you are in a library, or investigating a shelf of books in a bookstore, think about those characters. Think about the idea of bringing them to life. Think about  getting to know them and traveling somewhere, maybe even to a different time and place. And then think about going there, all of you, together.

Wishing you a wonderful year of reading–and writing!


I am often asked  where I get my ideas from, or where I get my inspiration, or how I came up with a character or the plot in the story.

Last night I had the pleasure of having dinner with two octogenarians. They had recently traveled to Nelson from Toronto to visit their daughter, one of my dearest friends. I couldn't help but notice how both of them were so full of life. Here they were, their third day in Nelson, after flying more than halfway across the country to Kelowna where they rented a car, drove over at least one mountain pass, walked to and from their hotel to her house numerous times, attended a film premier, watched at least one soccer practice, and it was 10 pm and they were still completely engaged in our lengthy dinner party conversation, with enough energy to make plans for the next day's adventures. Ah, to be eighty plus years old and so  alive! That has always been a dream of mine. As my own energy dwindled I just couldn't stop myself from asking: What was their secret? Their answer was really quite simple. They have remained curious.  

Same goes for writing and I suppose the same goes for life!