Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada kindness, respect, love, gratitude, appreciation, and family were the values I was taught growing up. Bullying was a part of my life that I never
spoke of, never shared, and hoped many times, would just go away and be forgotten. Those
memories remain within me.
As the years passed, I observed children feeling a sense of entitlement, feeling superior to
others and bullying soon replaced the very values I was taught.
Knowing first hand the scars and effects this had on me, I was determined to find a way to
teach children that, although some find bullying funny, the long term effects can be quite
damaging if not addressed early on. I found that way when I created Bentley Hippo
A life changing trauma struck me suddenly and flashbacks of my childhood immediately
dominated my thoughts. I felt a victim all over again. I wanted to give up on my dreams of
writing children's books. I asked myself - What kind of role model would I be to teach children to
never give up, after quitting myself? As Bentley was brought to life to bring comfort to children,
more than ever, he brings that same comfort to me. You see... both Bentley and I are blind in
What challenges were you faced with growing up? and how did that impact your life?
It's tough trying to feel worthy and important, once you've been bullied and kept quiet. Growing up, every so often thoughts of being inferior and not important, always entered my mind. These
memories would sneak up on me, and send me into a downward spiral, even today as an adult.
Too often I had flashbacks. A lot of self-doubts, even when I was successful, earning multiple awards, I doubted myself. I feared failure even though I never failed.
Who inspired you to create Bentley?
I witnessed bullying with young children and it upset me. I had to find a way to spread the message that bullying to some is funny, to others it is life-changing. I created and I named my character Bentley and thought that if he could make me smile, then he could have that same impact on children
You mentioned a life-altering trauma, can you elaborate?
I underwent a routine eye procedure that went bad overnight and I am now legally blind in my left eye.
What are your plans and goals for Bentley?
Bentley and I are the same. Going through two adventures (book 1 and book 2) It will be
revealed in book 3 that Bentley is also blind in one eye. I chose to reveal this in book 3 to show
children that Bentley can still overcome obstacles and never give up
If there is one thing that you could tell a child, what would it be and why?
Summed up as a whole, I would tell them to Speak Up, Believe in themselves, Never doubt their
worth, Be themselves because they are special and unique and to NEVER GIVE UP