Call me eclectic
I wear many job hats. I’m an author, freelance writer/editor, writing instructor/coach, and trained SoulCollage® facilitator who lives and works on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia and in nearby Vancouver on Canada’s west coast.
(Today’s Vancouver is part of the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Not far up the coast, the shíshálh and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people have stewarded the land known now as the Sunshine Coast for thousands of years. It remains their unceded, traditional territory. I thank them for their stewardship and generous sharing of their land, culture, and resources.)
I’ve written for more than 50 publications (e.g. The Globe and Mail, The Greater Vancouver Book, The Vancouver Sun, The Edmonton Journal) and have had five books published (a memoir, two history nonfiction for adults, two children’s fiction). This includes Vancouver’s Glory Years, published by Whitecap Books in Vancouver, which I co-authored with Henry Ewert. My memoir No Letter in Your Pocket was released in May 2023 by Guernica Editions in Ontario, Canada. (For more about No Letter in Your Pocket, see Memoir. For more details on my writing experience and to view published samples, see Writing.)
Gracie’s Got a Secret was my first children’s book, a fantasy picture book, published by MW Books. Here’s Gracie, by illustrator Lillian Lai:
My second book was Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch, published by Peppermint Toast Publishing in Delta, BC in 2019. Lillian Lai, again, did the illustrations. For more info, see my Books section.
I bring a respectful, inclusive approach to my work and strive to confront systemic racism and colonialist beliefs and uncover any of my own hidden biases. This is an ongoing learning process as I support the goals of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Teaching: the art of inspiration
I love to inspire others to write in many genres and to encourage them to explore themselves more deeply through writing. Teaching gives me great satisfaction; there is always more to learn from my students.
Here is a summary of some of my group teaching:
- Writing from Pain to Power for the University of King’s College, Halifax, NS (online)
- Trauma and Truth-telling in Memoir for the Creative Nonfiction Foundation (U.S. webinar)
- Writing About Trauma, Taboos, and other Scary Stuff for the Royal City Literary Arts Society (New Westminster, BC)
- Travel writing courses in Continuing Education at Capilano University in Sechelt, BC
- Creative Writing workshops at private venues in Vancouver
- 5 years of Creative Writing workshops for adults with mental illness through Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
- intensive, full-time curriculum in Professional Writing at Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC
- Introduction to Journalism at the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver.
A favourite focus is inspiring students to use writing as a tool in personal transformation. I have offered the latter type of courses through the Vancouver School Board, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, and in private workshops. The works of Natalie Goldberg (Wild Mind) and Deena Metzger (Writing for Your Life) have provided much rich material for my curriculum. (See Teaching for more details.)
Click here for more information about my SoulCollage workshops.
Writing coaching: Want individual attention?
Besides group classes, I enjoy coaching writers one-on-one, whether they’re beginner or intermediate. I help people initiate, shape and complete story ideas, book projects, personal essays, fiction, screenplays . . . any written venture that requires encouragement and clear direction. (See Coaching for more details.)
TV & film: Write less, show more
As a screenwriter, I wrote, produced, and directed the 2017 short documentary A Legacy of Love: 30 Years of Compassionate Hospice Care on B.C.’s Lower Sunshine Coast 1987 – 2017. In 2015, I wrote and co-produced a short documentary for the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society. Two years earlier, I wrote, produced, and co-directed a 20-minute documentary A New Way: An Organic Garden Changes Lives.
I’ve also co-written two Bravo! TV short films, and created segments for Hopscotch, a children’s television show aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver. An avid film viewer, I teach screenwriting at Powell River Digital Film School and have taught at Pull Focus Film School in Vancouver. I have served as consultant with producers and filmmakers regarding story structure, treatments, etc. A huge fan of documentaries, I blog regularly on many subjects, including film and TV.
Editing expertise: an eye for detail
As an editor, I work with both individuals and organizations. I have edited web content, books, newsletters, magazines, student writing, and corporate materials. Clients have ranged from Sustainability Television and Pacific Wild to The Local newspaper in Sechelt, BC, where I served as guest editor. I also spent almost five years as editor-in-chief for PeopleTalk magazine, the province-wide publication of the B.C. Human Resources Management Association. (See Editing for more info.)
Quick & compelling: Consulting in the corporate world
I’ve been communications manager for BC Transit and editorial director for Century Communications Corporation in Vancouver. I’ve conceived, written, edited, and served as project manager for many publications from brochures and annual reports to employee booklets. (See Corporate for more details.) I have worked as a communications consultant with organizations that share my values of sustainability and conservation.
Creative self-exploration: SoulCollage® workshops
As owner of Sunshine Coast SoulCollage® and a Trained Facilitator in the SoulCollage® process, I also offer fun workshops of self-discovery. Find out more from my Sunshine Coast SoulCollage website.
SPIRITED SERVICE: What I offer
Since tapping out tales on my mother’s typewriter at age seven, I’ve wanted to share my words and ideas with an audience. I love the magic and power of stories well told. I love to help others hone their words and share their creative visions with others.
After journalism training, many years working in media, publishing, and education, and decades of diary writing (started while an angst-filled teenager), I have found my perfect niche: creative nonfiction writing or literary journalism.
After receiving my master’s degree in this exciting genre, I wrote a memoir while continuing to write professionally, teach, and consult. This education has helped me bring greater depth and resources to my students and clients and their writing and editorial projects.
PUBLISHING: My precocious start
My foray into publishing began in grade seven, when I won a cartoon contest in The Toronto Telegram. I drew a tortoise with a crash helmet that dared a hare with the words: “Wanna drag?”
About three years later, I wrote a letter to MAD magazine artist Mort Drucker, accusing him of plagiarizing a Ronald Searle character from a 1950s Holiday magazine article. In response, Drucker sent me a hand-written letter, saying that his cartoon was a stylized compliment to an artist he admired.
Call me a Creeker: work around the world from home
I love living and working in both Vancouver and on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Roberts Creek or xwésám (shíshálh for ‘fat fish’) is only a 40-minute ferry ride northwest of Vancouver. It feels like an island here but we’re part of the mainland coast. There is no road access between Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast; you can only get here by air or sea. Living like this in two parallel worlds, the city and country, is ideal.
To find out more about life as a writer in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast, visit the Chica in the Creek section of my blog.
To read about current issues in topics from Compassionate Communication and Social Responsibility to Peace Activism and Film and TV, read my blog at www.heatherconnblogs.com/.
I am an affiliate member of the Greater Vancouver Compassion Network.