Virginia was born in Stoney Creek, Ontario in 1950 in "the heart of the fruit belt". Most of her early years were spent hanging upside down in cherry trees, daydreaming, reading, and swinging on the swing set so hard that it often toppled. This place was a farm of flat land with blossoming fruit trees, chickens, 5 regular cats and one toilet trained cat, and a german shephard, all within a short walk to a library and Lake Ontario. She thought where she lived was a kind of heaven. All of that experience helped her later do what she dreamed of—become a writer.
This took a while.
The writer wanted to see the world, and saw so much of it that it took her a long time to finish college where she majored in—what else—English Literature, at Wilfrid Laurier University and an MS at Pace U. in NY. Her trips landed her in the US where she met and married a teacher when she was 26. No one was paying writers at the time but they were paying teachers (a little) so she became one. After years teaching in the fourth and fifth grade classrooms, and being trained in The Writing Process at Columbia University in NYC, she got very, very lucky! Her school became a Magnet School with a theme of Writing & Publishing. She was appointed the Staff Developer of the Publishing Center which meant she worked to inspire everyone, adults, kids, parents, teacher's aides, custodians and even the principal, to get their writer's notebooks out and write their stories down. It was in that creative mileu that a surprising thing happened. Virginia sat down with her students and couldn't stop writing herself. When her first book was published, she carried it everywhere, to school, for trips in the car, and kept it beside her pillow.
After 22 years teaching, Virginia became a full time writer. She still has a secret passion to teach writers so now she teaches adults at UCLA's Creative Writing program online. And she is always dreaming of what her characters will do next. Although her special interest is historical fiction particularly slavery, her new book Nutz! (Tradewinds 2011) is middle grade and narrated by a cat with a big problem ... hint: he doesn't like the squirrel that just moved in!