I’m Montréalaise by birth, identity and current address, although I’ve called other parts of Canada and the United States my home: Ontario, Nova Scotia, the Yukon and, yes, New Jersey.
I’ve always loved to write. I have a clear memory, during an unremarkable working class upbringing in the proverbial gritty milltown, of writing derivative melodramas on waste paper my dad brought home from the papermill.
I grew up and left the milltown. I was a nurse’s aide and a graphic artist for a while, then a journalist with United Press International. I translated shirtless laird romances, and was in and out of school like a repeat offender. I ended up studying for a doctoral degree at Princeton, where I specialized in long bicycle rides and watching Oprah, but did enjoy writing academic satires involving my profs in the style of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast.
I returned to Canada to face the music. I taught in the English Department at Dalhousie University, then lit out for the Yukon territory. In the frozen North I did a little of it all–dogsledding, piloting a small plane, cross-country skiing, the Kluane international bike relay. Little did I know I was so sporty. I’ve had a few jobs in government along the way. When I worked in Toronto, one fine day at the office my boss said, you’ve led such an interesting life, Anna. I figured I wasn’t long for government after that.
I have two unpublished young adult fantasy books. Book one was a semi-finalist for the American Katherine Paterson Prize, and book two, in a mystery vein, made the long list for the Crime Writers of Canada’s unpublished novel prize. After being told by an agent my words were too “big,” I shifted to adult fiction.
AFTER THE WINTER is my first published novel. Its sequel, THE AU PAIR, was released in October 2017. Book 3, APRIL ON PARIS STREET, will be out with Guernica Editions in December 2021. All three are set in Québec, although in book 3 private investigator Ashley Smeeton heads for Paris on a case.
My books are stories about women in danger, and what they do about it. APRIL ON PARIS STREET, a 49th Shelf Most Anticipated Fall 2021 Pick, is a hybrid literary mystery with some genre and narrative twists. It’s set in Montreal and Paris and mixes a serious murder plot with noir-ish humour. AFTER THE WINTER and THE AU PAIR flirt with mid-century suspense tropes but get into bed with a post-modern moral reckoning.