Together with my husband, I opened and owned a used bookstore in Vancouver for 3 years.
My maiden name is Wallace…as in William Wallace aka Braveheart. Growing up (way before Mel Gibson made the movie), my father had our family crest displayed on the wall in our front hall, bearing the clan motto Pro Libertate...as in “they can take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
I have taken two sabbaticals in the UK – one before having kids, and one when our first son was 4 years old.
I was a vegetarian for two years.
I once went on a safari in East Africa, and spent one night in a tent on the Serengeti while lions literally prowled outside all night. My husband was terrified. I slept right through it.
My favorite flavor for most things is vanilla. I like regular tea, I prefer my coffee without any flavored syrups, and my favorite flavor of chips is…plain.
In spite of all that vanilla and unflavored stuff…I LOVE food. There is very little that I don’t like, and I consider myself a big-time foodie.
I got 2nd prize in the first writing contest I ever entered–the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition (with 17,000 other entrants), in the Children’s Fiction category. It was a story I wrote while breastfeeding my first baby in the middle of the night. Because…what else are you going to do with that time?
I’m a huge football fan–especially the NFL. The New England Patriots have been my team since I was in my 20s (even before Tom Brady was the QB).
For our honeymoon, my husband and I spent one month in Florence, Italy, studying Italian at a language school called the Istituto Michelangelo.
I’m a Scorpio.
I was in high school in the 80s, which means I spent my formative years wearing legwarmers and frosted lipstick, listening to INXS and Depeche Mode, and teasing my bangs.
I was a classically trained singer in high school with the Royal Conservatory of Music and at the age of 13 was awarded the Silver Medal for the highest performance examination mark in Ontario.
I sleep wearing an eye mask (like a princess, unapologetically).
After medical school I backpacked around Europe by myself for 6 weeks.
I have no bargaining/haggling skills. I was once laughed at by the vendor for attempting it…all the way down the beach in Antigua as I walked away with my tail between my legs.
I’m obsessed with James Bond. And my only living cousins have the surname Bond.
In my final year of medical school, I almost chose surgery as my specialty (I did all the electives, got the right reference letters, applied to surgery programs, landed the interviews…then changed my mind and cancelled the interviews, choosing family medicine instead).
My birthday is 2 days before Halloween so I always had costume parties for my birthday when I was a kid.
I own a house in Normandy, France.
Possibly the strangest foreign object I’ve ever removed from a patient was a pickle, stuck up a 3 yr old kid’s nose.
The fall is my favorite season.
I was in TV commercials when I was a teen–including one commercial for ProStars breakfast cereal with Wayne Gretzky.
I once delivered a baby with my bare hands. Literally–no time for gloves, that baby was coming FAST.
I can’t tolerate the sight of certain patterns–clusters of holes make my scalp crawl. For years I thought I was crazy or imagining it, but it turns out this is a real thing.
When I was a kid I wanted to be an actress. In my school musicals I was Anne in Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Alice in Wonderland.
In medical school I played touch football in a women’s league.
I have traveled to 20 countries and counting.
I worked as a lifeguard all through high school.
I have dual citizenship: I carry a Canadian and a British passport.
I was married at a winery–the ceremony was held in a grove of trees beside the vineyard, and the reception at the restaurant with a terrace overlooking the vineyard.
I love seeing movies in the movie theater. My husband and I go almost every week.
I own my own set of golf clubs.
I was the Student Council Prime Minister (yep, that’s what we call it in Canada) in my final year of high school.
I have never been great at sports, but I was a dancer growing up–I took ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance from the age of 5 right through high school.
I dislike surprise parties.
I love cheese. Every kind of cheese. I’m obsessed.
I’ve been to see a Shakespearean production at the Globe theater in London (Twelfth Night), and stood up in the yard through the whole show just like they used to.
I’ve got a soft spot for Van Halen.
I’ve got mad suturing skills. Lacerated your hand while cutting your bagel this morning? I can take care of that for you.
I am extremely picky about my croissants, my pizza, and my gelato.
I was once upgraded to business class on a flight with my mom from London to Vancouver, and sitting beside us was Tom Jones…who sang to us because my mom is from Wales, like he is.
I have visited Paris 10 times.
I still get carded at the wine store from time to time (including last weekend). I’m 44.
I once ate ostrich meat at a hot pot restaurant in Hong Kong.
I have an itemized bucket list that includes everything from “milk a cow” to “ride a hot air balloon”.
I have afternoon tea every afternoon at 3 pm.
Facial recognition is my superpower.
I love the rain. I’m never so happy as on a rainy day, curled up with a book, coffee, and a fire.
Psst…are you a writer? I’ve put something together for you!
I rarely talk about this, but I’ve been building a writer’s craft binder for years. It’s like my own personal writing handbook that I fill with resources, tips, and ideas gleaned from all kinds of places: writing books, conferences, podcasts, etc.
That binder also contains a collection of worksheets I’ve created for myself. Given that my most frequently asked questions are about writing process, I’ve decided to start sharing some of those worksheets—starting with a worksheet I developed for that magical phase when I first start thinking of an idea for a new book. It’s where I begin gathering ideas and thoughts on various aspects of a story while it’s first percolating.
Go ahead and click the thumbnail below to download your free copy.