I grew up in western Canada and have a passion for traveling the world. I also enjoy fishing for salmon, working in my Asian water garden, and paddling outrigger canoes in the northern waters around Victoria, BC. I have a PhD in psychology and retired from my practice to write full time.
My Heart is Not My Own is my debut novel–there is life after a first career. My early published works were confined to scientific journals and newspaper feature articles. When I travel, I write–the result has been newspaper topics ranging from taking a slow boat from Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to an article about two generations of female Russian medical doctors.
About my new book…
My Heart is Not My Own is a book about defining moments–of Mariama’s, in her quest to survive, and John Rourke’s, in a personal struggle for forgiveness and humility.
Ten years after returning from war-ravaged Sierra Leone, Dr. John Rourke receives a package in the mail. In his hand is the unfinished diary of his ex-lover, Mariama Lahai, the charismatic African nurse who disappeared ten years before on the day Rourke was evacuated from Freetown. The journal documents Mariama’s capture, rape and journey at the hands of the rebels but leaves unanswered the question that still haunts Rourke–did she survive?
Rourke embarks upon an odyssey that takes him into Mariama’s world of a child soldiers, bush-wives and African secret societies. It is a story of love, courage and resilience that is brought to life by the powerful voice of Mariama Lahai.
Why I wrote the book…
I was inspired to write this novel while visiting refugee camps during the war in Sierra Leone. I returned to Sierra Leone in 2009 and have since visited the country several times to research and write My Heart is Not My Own. While there I stay in the village of Sumbuya, which is near the Liberian border.
Sumbuya has become an adopted home. With money raised by family and friends, I have assisted the community in the building of a library, a school and community hall, and various educational projects for girls and teachers.
Where readers can get the book…
Something interesting about me?
Many people have asked me how I was able to write in a woman’s voice. Some of the more powerful sections of the novel were in Mariama’s voice. I really don’t know the answer to this, other than to note that when I am in Sierra Leone I spend most of my non-writing time on the back verandah, in the presence of women. This is a woman’s place –the men simply don’t hang out here. Perhaps because of my age, or the fact that I don’t know any better, –the women and girls seem to accept me in their space. I listen to their voices.