I’ve been working in publishing for over 25 years. I got into publishing accidentally; I was working as a scientific researcher at the University of London in the UK and my job was to help professors get their papers out. My first one was an epidemiological study published by the World Health Organization. I was also part of a team producing The Environmental Data Report, a massive book that used United Nations data ( from UNICEF, UNEP, WHO, FAO, and other UN organizations) to assess the state of the world.
What an illustrious start, eh?
From there I worked mainly in science publishing. Making science accessible to whichever audience required. Sometimes to specialists, other times for students, or to the general public. I was blessed enough to meet Ben Brown, another researcher. We married, had two boys, but then he died before our eldest was three. A drunk driver went into us and that was the end of a very happy marriage. When the driver was sentenced to a mere three years, I figured that was a sign it was time to leave England. I returned home to Canada. Back to Toronto where my parents and siblings lived — and still do. In Toronto, I had two more kids, two girls.
In Canada, I continued to work in publishing, starting a publishing house called JackFruit Press Ltd. Our first book, written by me, became a best-seller after it was nominated for a big prize in the children’s book realm. The second book was also nominated; however, the press went down five years later when it’s distributor filed for bankruptcy. My life collapsed and I rebuilt, finding a job within a video company and then with traditional publishing companies.
After I was let go from in 2014, I had to start over again for the third time. I had become anxious after my sons were robbed and viciously attacked. It was a good time to be let go — they needed me. They were spiralling downwards and it was impossible to find the help they needed. I researched, investigated, interviewed other health professionals, and with a friend created a treatment program. Together we started Susumai House, a residential treatment centre to serve those with chronic depression and anxiety. Later that year, another friend asked if I wanted to help her create a magazine for autistic kids and I couldn’t say no — I could see the need. We created Outfox Magazine for kids 8-13 and although we have great reviews — and are on the list of best for kids and teens in Canada as determined by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre — we are still fighting to be seen and to get our subscriber numbers up. So I run my publishing business along with my passion-projects, Susumai House and CEIDA Media, the non-profit which publishes Outfox Magazine.
I feel blessed to have carved out a working life that offers community, flexibility, excitement, and diversity. With Jackie Brown Books I work with all sorts of writers, both novice and professional. I work with individuals and with publishing companies and with all genres of books, non-fiction and fiction. On books for adults and for children. I’ve worked with a literary agency, traditional publishing companies, self-publishers, and a video marketing company. And I am working to develop these other organization which already do so much to help people.
I live in the Durham Region of Canada with my four kids, two dogs, and our cat. When I can carve out spare time, I use it on fibre arts like crocheting and quilting. I’m learning embroidery. I wish I liked cooking, but I sure do love eating! My aim is to find that one cookbook that’s going to change my life — or to create enough abundance so I can hire a personal chef!