I was born in Bray, Co. Wicklow, a small town by the Irish Sea. My family emigrated to Canada when I was four years old and I grew up in Toronto with my seven sisters and two brothers.
Though I never dreamed of being a writer, I loved books and always made up stories. I even ran a family newspaper for a while.
Irish dancing was another of my passions and I practised hard to become a champion. “Feises” or competitions were held in many American cities and that gave me the travelling bug young.
When I was eighteen I hitch-hiked across Canada and through California with three friends, having many adventures along the way. A year later, I joined Canada World Youth/Jeunesse Canada Monde to participate in a youth exchange programme with Malaysia. This also took me to Borneo where I stayed in the longhouses of the indigenous Sea Dayak and Kayan peoples.
On my return to Canada, I felt it was time to go to university and I joined the Canadian Naval Reserve’s ROUTP, Reserve Officers University Training Programme. One night a week I defended my country at HMCS York on Lake Ontario and the following summers I was stationed on the east and west coasts of Canada. After three years, I received the Queen’s Commission at the rank of Sub-Lieutenant.
As a student at Trinity College (University of Toronto), I took a variety of courses including Celtic Studies, philosophy, politics, theology, Latin, and English. Picking up a few scholarships along the way, I graduated with a BA cum laude and eventually completed an MA in Mediaeval Irish History. At one point I attended Osgoode Hall Law School but soon decided law wasn’t for me. That’s when I turned my hand to writing and I have been doing that ever since!