Friday, 18 November 2011

Edge of Survival.

Today I'm lucky to have talented author Toni Anderson on my blog, talking about her life, and latest release from Carina Press, Edge of Survival. Over to you,Toni.

Wendy wanted to know a little about my background, and how a girl born and raised in Shropshire ended up in the Canadian prairies. Some days I have no idea.

When I was seventeen I decided to be a helicopter pilot, but apparently being short-sighted and not tall enough to reach the pedals was a problem. Sheesh. What was the RAF thinking?

So, I looked through my UCCA handbook and saw Marine Biology offered at Liverpool University and decided to do that instead. I don’t know why I assumed I’d go to university. I came from a poor working class background, but my elder brother had gone (also to Liverpool) and I was filled with a fierce desire to see the world.

After two years in Liverpool, one year on the Isle of Man, doing Honors, I ended up doing a Ph.D. in St Andrews, Scotland. This was the furthest from home I had ever been. I set off with my mom in my 2CV and instantly fell in love with sunny, windy Fife. I loved Scotland. I LOVE Scotland. I’d go back in a heartbeat. It has such incredible scenery and great people. I met my husband there, had my babies there.

So how did I end up in Canada? It started in 1995 when I did a 3 year Post Doc in Waterloo, Ontario. My husband and I got a taste for Canada but we had to return to Scotland for personal reasons (and we also spent time in Australia but that’s a whole other post). After six years, my hubby was offered a permanent position as a biology professor at the University of Manitoba—about as far from the ocean as possible and both of us Marine Biologists! But a permanent job is not to be sniffed at and we’d really enjoyed living in Canada the first time around, so we once again emigrated across the Atlantic and settled in Winnipeg. 

Winnipeg, Manitoba—or Winterpeg, Mani-snow-ba, as it is otherwise known—was a bit of a shock. I found the vast planes of the prairies strangely oppressive. Give me a beach and waves and I feel free, give me an endless landmass and I feel trapped J. In the winter it’s so cold here that if you don’t plug in your car the engine-block freezes. You get ice crystals on your eyelashes and your nose hairs stick together and pull themselves out when you breathe. When we first arrived I used to drag the kids to school on a sled, I even hooked the dog up with a harness and he’d pull them to school. The coldest it’s ever been (for us) is -53C windchill. That’s counterbalanced by a high of 46C humidex this summer. It’s a crazy seesaw environment of extreme weather with about a week of spring and autumn.

Seven years on, I’m used to the flat landscape and crazy weather. The friendliness of the locals more than makes up for any physical frostiness. The challenges of living in Manitoba have made me a stronger person, more confident of my own abilities, but I’d still go back to Scotland in a heartbeat. That’s why I base so many of my stories there. I love revisiting the land and people. I love smelling the sea, and hearing the waves pound the beach—and at least by writing about it I can pretend.

Thanks for having me here today, Wendy. J It’s been a pleasure.

EDGE OF SURVIVAL (November 2011 from Carina Press)
Foreword by Brenda Novak
Dr. Cameran Young knew her assignment wouldn't be easy. As lead biologist on the Environment Impact Assessment team, her findings would determine the future of a large mining project in the northern Canadian bush. She expected rough conditions and hostile miners—but she didn't expect to find a dead body her first day on the job.
Former SAS Sergeant Daniel Fox forged a career as a helicopter pilot, working as far from the rest of the human race as possible. The thrill of flying makes his civilian life bearable, and he lives by his mantra: don't get involved. But when he's charged with transporting the biologist to her research vessel, he can't help but get involved in the murder investigation—and with Cameran, who awakens emotions he's desperate to suppress.
In the harsh and rugged wilderness, Daniel and Cameran must battle their intense and growing attraction while keeping ahead of a killer who will stop at nothing to silence her…
My heroine has diabetes and I'm donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research.

Toni Anderson is a former Marine Biologist turned Romantic Suspense writer who now lives in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children.  Her stories are set in the stunning locations where she’s been lucky enough to live and work—the blustery east coast of Scotland, the remote isolated mining communities of Northern Labrador, the rugged landscapes of the U.S. and Australia. Check out Toni’s website for a list of current titles, her blog and Facebook Author Page for writing news and her personal Facebook page and Twitter for constant nonsensical chatter. She is also part of a wonderful group blog—Not Your Usual Suspects. Come introduce yourself.


  1. Hello! *waving madly at you both*

    A fascinating post, Toni. I love Scotland too. I lived in Orkney, on the island of Hoy, for 12 years, and I'd go back in a heartbeat. I miss the beaches and the waves. I suppose we're lucky in that we can go anywhere in our head. :)

    Edge of Survival is an awesome read. I'll be watching out for you on the NYT bestseller list!

  2. Ha! Shirley :) I visited the Orkneys on holiday once--loved them. I have a Sheila Fleet Minehow ring I absolutely adore. Thank you for your kind words :) And thanks for having me, Wendy :)

  3. I've only been to Scotland once, but yes, love it and would go back in a heartbeat too. I have been to Winnipeg (went to school in North Dakota, so it was *right there* ; ) It's a lot like interior AK, weather-wise. But the people are much friendlier in Canada :)

    Congrats on the release!

  4. Thanks, Cathy. Really... about the weather in AK? Crazy :) I want to explore the Dakotas soon. Almost went this year but built a fence instead :)

  5. I have only been to London, Oxford and Dover, but I so want to venture north (Shirley's driveway)!

    I can't wait to read this one, you know that!

  6. I did not know that about nose hairs! Thank goodness LOL
    I also love the wildness of Scotland, and I'm more than happy to read about it in your books.

  7. Gosh! I have relatives in Winnipeg. I visited Manitoba last summer to spread my uncle's ashes over his favorite golf course. (Pine something or other.) Loved your post. You've had a very interesting life!