Where to start? My earliest memories are of sand and sea, of swamps, and magical kingdoms. Growing up in Florida, I came to cultivate a love for wild things and fantasy.
Whether I was at home playing or sitting in the backseat on a long car ride, I was never bored. I imagined a pegasus flying beside our car, and I drew and told stories of fantastic creatures and characters I'd made up when I got home.
Years later, when we moved to Canada, I spent all of my free time in the forest, the stable, or in the pasture, with my horses, dogs, and cats.
I saw autumn for the first time and snow, and knew I would never leave Canada; not once the trees of the forest had rooted into my soul. Don't get me wrong, the ocean lives within my heart, and I grew up loving animals that most people fear; snakes, alligators, sharks, and wild boars, but the hours I spent alone in the deciduous forests of Canada molded the person I became and hope to always be.
When I went to university, I left behind my dreams of being an author and illustrator, discouraged by those who told me I'd starve, but also because I felt a calling to protect the wild spaces and beings I had come to cherish and love.
And so, I graduated with a degree in environmental policy and I ended up working for conservation areas and not-for-profits. I took adults and children on guided hikes and taught fire starting and snowshoeing. Later, I would work with animals doing live performances to help inspire and educate the public, but working with animals in captivity is difficult. When you do not own them, you do not make the decisions involving their care, and unable to support the neglect, and sometimes abuse, I witnessed in the animal field, I left.
In university, I volunteered as a wildlife rehabilitator and the facility I worked for, combined with my own standard of care for animals, formed the healthy and strong care ethics I have for animals today, and they prevent me from accepting anything less. Animals are thinking, feeling, individuals, and to treat them as anything less is unacceptable. Leaving the animal field was devastating and left me in what I could only describe as a life-paralysis.
I stumbled in the dark for a long time, wondering where my place was in the world.
I drifted through jobs and depression for several years until I realized I didn't have to give up--that I didn't want to give up. I could write and I could draw. I wanted to connect and inspire people through story and visual art.
Through fiction and characters, we find ourselves. The struggles of the characters are our struggles, and if not, we've been given a window into the pain and experiences of others--we experience insight and empathy, even if we don't realize it right away.
Fiction gives us glimpses into the future and the past, and allows us to look at the present through new lenses.
When I first came up with the idea for Detective Docherty, I was cleaning up horse manure in the stables. I wanted to start out with a light, silly read to help myself and others escape the pain of their lives, little did I know that my series would be that and so much more.
Thanks to the success of Detective Docherty, the fire in my heart is rekindled and I am ready to tell more stories and create more art.
What about my art, you ask? More on that later.
Thank you for stopping by☕️.