I have two lives.
1. My Make-Believe, Head-in-the-Clouds,
This is the life that's fueled by
the imagination. The life that takes me on journeys to different times
and places, lets me be whoever and whatever I want to be, leads me to
discoveries of unexpected wonders and delights. A life with magic and
mystery and sometimes, danger like explosions, avalanches and
icebergs. But no matter what it throws me into, it gets me out without
2. My Down-to-Earth, Eat-Food-Drink-Water
This is the life that's full of
Like these ones
Born: November 9, 5:20 a.m.
in Victoria, B.C.
Family: Mom, Dad, one brother
(3 years younger), two sets of grand-parents, six aunts and uncles,
two cocker spaniels (one golden, one black), 8 puppies (one summer),
a canary that sang when I played the piano, a pretend horse, and a Very
Summers: Play Time and Holiday
Time at our cottage on the Sooke Basin exploring islands, beaches
and woods, fishing, rowing, playing make-believes, goofing around, telling
stories. And reading on rainy days, sunny days, by the fire,
on the beach, in the rowboat, in the tree fort and in bed.
Fall, Winter and Spring:
Work Time (but not all the time) going to school, to the
library and to piano lessons, putting on plays and variety shows, riding
my bike, reading and more reading, making up stories and typing them
on my mum's typewriter. My first words in print! On yellow typewriting
paper with red and black ink (the only choices on a typewriter ribbon).
My parents and teachers said maybe I'd be a writer one day. I thought,
Good idea! A little dream took hold.
Graduated from the University of
Victoria with a teaching certificate and a BA in French and English.
Spent a year teaching in France and travelling all over Europe and Britain.
Kept a journal, scribbled thoughts, rants, lists, ideas, poems, French
recipes, travel plans, song lyrics and hundreds of letters home.
Taught elementary school Grades
3 to 5, French, Music, Drama and everything else. Wrote and directed
plays for the Drama Club, led a Ukulele Club. Acted in community theatre
productions, helped my husband build our house, raised chickens, played
the piano, walked the dog, dreamed that one day I'd be a writer … when
I had the time, when I came up with an idea, when I got older …
I Got Older …
An idea! A story called The Day
Kenny Wore My Boots Home by Mistake. Wrote it in one night, sent
it to twelve different publishers and received twelve REJECTIONS. And
buckets of discouragement.
Ten Years Later …
Turned forty. Time to stop dreaming
about being a writer and do something. Seriously. Resolved NOT
to get discouraged, even if I had to paper my walls with rejections.
So! Took six months off teaching, wrote a story, sent it to a publisher
(not one of the Twelve) and went to China.
Success! Signed a contract for
The Sand Sifter, published in 1990. Signed contracts that same year
for four new books with three different publishers A Morning
to Polish and Keep, My Grandfather Loved the Stars, The
Dragon's Pearl and Kate's Castle each one to be published
in 1992. Took a year off teaching to celebrate and to write full time.
Never went back.
Author Years …
books later, I'm still leading a double life. Actually, make that a
triple. There's my On-the-Road Life the life that takes me to
schools, libraries, conferences and festivals from St. John's, NL, to
Inuvik, NT, and everywhere in between. It has also taken me to Dawson
City YT where I spent a Fall and Winter as the writer-in-residence at
Berton House Writers' Retreat.
My hope is that kids get the same
pleasure from reading that I had when I was their age. I want them to
feel for the characters, travel in time to experience history, get caught
up in adventures and go sailing off on flights of their own imagination.
Walk time, gym time, yoga time, piano time.
Up time, clowning time, down time, town time.
Family time, friend time,
Party time? Anytime.
Reading time, movie time,
Favourite time? Travel time!
Listen to Julie's
interview on CBC as she talks about her start as an author, her
writing process, and the inspiration that led to her book, Ghosts
of the Titanic.
Read an interview with Julie Lawson here.
here for a short, printable bio.