Q - What prompted you to write Love, Obey and Betray?
A – At 16 my husband was a slave in a Nazi work camp. After his death I wanted to record his experiences for his grandchildren but there were too many gaps in my knowledge to make a proper memoir. My solution was to make them background for my protagonist. Vlad’s “memories” are as close to actual events as I can make them given that I wasn’t present. I used these experiences as the basis for his unbalanced reactions to Kate’s casual acceptance of Andreas’ friendship.
Q - Are you Ukrainian?
A – No. My background is Celtic, Scottish with one lonely little Irishman for spice.
Q – Why did Kate not charge her husband after he attacked her?
A – The novel is set in 1973. According to Canadian law at that time, a husband could not rape his wife. She could certainly have walked out on him but she had no legal recourse and would have forfeited any right to spousal support or a share of the marital home if she walked away from her marriage.
Q – How closely does your protagonist’s character mirror that of your husband?
A – Not in the least. My husband did occasionally attend the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and we used the Orthodox wedding vows when we married. I was fascinated by their belief that while the wife must love, honour and obey her husband, the husband must “be worthy of obedience”, something unheard of in traditional protestant services. It puts a whole new perspective on the vows and gave me a handle to use for twisting Vlad’s
Q. – Why is The Black Brides set in Fergus?
A. – I was fascinated by the architecture. I love all those lovely old stone buildings and the river. The school in particular intrigued me, probably because stone schools had mostly been torn down or otherwise decimated by the time I first saw Fergus High in 1980. Most of the references to those buildings have disappeared over various revisions, but I tried to retain the town layout and street names.
Q. – Are you a dog lover?
A. – Certainly not. Cats are my pets of choice. On the other hand, as a teenager I landed my parents with a collie/shepherd cross pup who grew to be huge. He didn’t much like babies and unless I knew Joe was securely tied in the barn, even I quailed at walking up our lane after dark when I came home for visits.
Q. – World War II has figured prominently in both your novels. Why is that?
A. – Probably because war and the military heavily impacted my generation. As a pre-“boomer” I grew up with family friends and neighbors who served and most of the immigrant kids joining our classes were from families seeking to start over away from the destruction of their homeland.
Q. – Why do you use so much backstory in your work?
A. – I believe most of the important things in life happen because of a decision made before the event occurs. For instance, I would never have met my husband if I’d gone into another profession. But I went into teaching and hated it. That meant I wasn’t good at it and l wound up working in a community with more interest in thrift (inexperienced, therefore cheap teachers) than quality instructors. And there he was, just waiting to rescue me from a job I detested. Like it or lump it, my marriage resulted from a bad career choice.