Ann-Maureen Owens - Author
Ann-Maureen Owens is the manager of Kingston WritersFest's events for young readers and writers. Together with her friend and collaborator Jane Yealland, Ann-Maureen is the co-author of the popular children's information books Forts of Canada, The Kids Book of Canadian Exploration and Our Flag: The Story of Canada's Maple Leaf. Their books encourage children to discover Canadian history in entertaining and sometimes “hands-on” ways.
Ann-Maureen lives with her husband in Kingston, Ontario, where she taught in both elementary and secondary schools, raised four sons and now enjoys visits with her three young grandchildren. She also writes for a variety of magazines and online journals, and is happily exploring ideas for her next book by trying new things, meeting interesting people and reading endlessly.
As a member of the Writers' Union of Canada and of Young Kingston: Southeastern Ontario Writers for Children and Teens, Ann-Maureen offers writing workshops and author visits to kids of all ages.
Where do you live?
Who is in your family?
My family is my husband, Peter, and my four sons, Brian, Luke, David and Kevin.
Do you have any pets?
No pets at the moment, but we have had a number of rabbits, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, a dog and even a rat!
What is your favorite book?
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and when I was a child, I loved Black Beauty.
What is your favorite movie?
Hidalgo --- as with Black Beauty it has a horse as the main character.
What are your hobbies?
Reading, hiking, canoeing and skiing.
When did you start writing?
I started as a child but became serious about it after my second son was born.
What was your schooling or training?
I have a degree in English and History from the University of Toronto, a second degree in Education from Queen's University, and I have taken various writer's workshops in both Canada and England.
How did you get involved with children's books?
My friend Jane Yealland and I both wanted to write something that our kids, eight between the two of us, would enjoy.
Where do you work?
I teach high school during the day and write in my bright little home office on holidays and weekends.
How do you create your stories?
I research the facts and then try to come up with an interesting way to present them.
Do you have any tips for young creators?
Read a lot, talk to interesting people and send off stories to every writing contest you can. This gives you a deadline and an audience.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I remember going to the cottage with my family, going camping with friends and family Christmases.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A newspaper reporter, a teacher or a librarian.
Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of the characters in your books?
In Forts of Canada, I gave my grandfather's name --- Herbert Roland Brown --- to a British soldier because I never had the heart to give his name to one of my kids.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job that you have ever had?
My first teaching job was at a boarding school for boys in England, and some pretty weird things went on there.