In Praise of Barbara Kyle

If you are an aspiring writer, I’d like to introduce you to my remarkable friend, Barbara Kyle. Following a long acting career in film, television and stage productions, Barbara became an internationally acclaimed author, known for her historical fiction series, the Thornleigh Saga, and several suspense novels, the latest being Entrapped, winner of the IndieBrag Gold Medallion, currently being developed into a four part television series. More recently, she has become a sought-after lecturer on the creative writing process and mentor to writers around the world.


After I had completed the first draft of the manuscript for my memoir, Ready to Come About, and was beginning to tackle the daunting task of editing it, I had the good fortune of landing in one of Barbara’s lectures on ‘the novel’ at the University of Guelph. It was immediately obvious to me that she is an expert on all things writing, and a passionate teacher of it. Through a subsequent seminar by her I gained the practical tools I needed to approach this editing stage, objectively, systematically, even enjoyably. The rewriting process that had felt like pure torture at the start, became a labour of love. Over the course of the next fifteen months, I sat at my kitchen table, cutting words here and slashing whole scenes there, and my story gradually became tighter, brighter, and ultimately almost 40,000 words lighter!


I am thrilled to say I now have a publishing contract for Ready to Come About with Dundurn Press. What’s more, developmental editor, Allison Hirst, commented that the story flows at a good pace without leaving anything out, and it was one of the cleanest manuscripts she has seen in a while.

In addition to Barbara’s in-class lectures, she runs online courses, and has written an inspirational, information-packed book on the creative writing process: Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel that Publishers Want and Readers Buy. This book sits prominently on my shelf of writing resources.

So, if you’re working towards the goal of getting published, no matter what stage you’re at in the process, Barbara can help. Check out her website. Better yet, contact her. You’ll be glad you did!


Kingston – A fitting place for a book signing

Kingston Ontario is an historic Canadian city, but also a place of significance for me.

In May of 2007, Kingston was the last familiar port of call for Inia before heading into the mighty St. Lawrence River on a sailing journey that would ultimately cover 11,000 nautical miles, two transatlantic crossings, and 14 ocean passages with a total of 86 days at sea, all in the space of a year.

Inia was tied up to the wall in Portsmouth Harbour with the limestone walls of Kingston Penitentiary, then an active prison, in the background.

Inia in Kingston

Kingston also marked the beginning of my often challenging, ultimately rewarding 37 year professional journey as an occupational therapist.

queens emblem

Autonomy, self-determination, and the right to live at risk, values central to both journeys, are explored in my memoir, Ready to Come About.

So it somehow feels fitting that I will be signing copies of Ready to Come About in the heart of Kingston’s downtown.

Join me at the Novel Idea Bookstore, 156 Princess Street, Kingston, on Father’s Day, June 16th between 1 and 4 p.m.

Novel Idea Photo