I started writing fiction seriously in the early 90s. I took a class from Barbara Greenwood in Toronto and I was in Peter Carver’s writing for children workshop through George Brown College for a couple of years. I also started my own writers’ group. I’m a big believer in writers’ critiquing groups and wrote an article called "'What do I know from Kosher?' Lessons Learned from a Cross Cultural Writers' Group" (which I will post when I figure out how to post a pdf). Writing groups are not without their challenges and an alternate title was “Writing groups I’ve loved, lost, and ditched.”
Dead Frog on the Porch is my debut novel but not my first manuscript. I started by writing a time travel based on the life of my late grandmother who came to Canada from Russia in the early 1900s. I am still working on this novel; the next draft will take it from a middle grade time travel to a whole different genre.
I'd received some good feedback from publishers on my Dead Frog on the Porch manuscript when it was initially sent out about ten years before, but I knew I needed to do some rewriting. I did a major rewrite and sent it to my writers' group. After getting their feedback, I did another rewrite. It was ready to go. This was the version I started sending out. Agonizing over the query and the synopsis came next. It felt like I had spent nearly as much effort writing the query as I did the manuscript!