I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

In addition to a few go-nowhere jobs, I’ve been a journalist (in Cambridge, England), a teacher (in Colchester, England, Glovertown, Newfoundland, and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada), and an elementary school principal (in St. George, New Brunswick).

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember – news and feature articles as a journalist, tracts and diatribes on education as a teacher, stories to read to students as a principal, and, all the time, stories for their own sake. Rather to my surprise, I now have nine young adult novels, four teen novels, and three adult novels in print. My stories have been shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Prize and (three times) for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award, and five of them have been included in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre annual ‘Best Books’ list, and one on the U.S. Young Adult Librarians Association ‘100 Best Books to Get Teens Reading’ list.

Although I forsook being a school principal in order to teach music at home, and to have more time for writing, I still love the world of school, and often talk to students about writing, and read to them from my books, and present writing workshops. Many of my stories have grown out of, and continue to grow out of, my experiences working with children of all ages.

When I’m working on a book, I usually write in the morning, starting early, and save the afternoon for playing and teaching music. If I’m under pressure to finish something, or I’m obsessed with a story (which I regard as a good sign), I carry on writing in the evening, or go over what I wrote earlier.

When I’m not writing, or playing and teaching music, you’ll find me (just suppose you want to) walking, reading, skiing, taking photographs, feeding and watching the birds, or listening to music.

I play keyboard, and a bit of saxophone and clarinet, with Stepping Out, a band that performs standards, blues, and old rock and roll for dances and other social events, and I use the guitar to accompany songs I’ve written to introduce some of the characters in the stories.

I live in St. George, New Brunswick, on the Magaguadavic River (the one that flooded so disastrously just before Christmas 2011), where I drive Nancy, my wife, to distraction by getting obsessed with writing, and by watching lots of soccer on TV (go Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers), and by playing loud music.

And while I write and teach and play music, I’m still wondering what I want to be when I grow up.

Always happy to hear from you. Email: raynernr@nb.sympatico.ca

Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/raggedbeliever


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