What I Do

First and foremost, I am a writer. I have a 25+ year track record of publishing both fiction and non-fiction in magazines, journals and, more recently, books.

As a science journalist, my writing focusses primarily on issues that impact the natural world and on topics of concern to farmers. I have thrown a spotlight on native and invasive species, citizen science projects, ticks and tick-borne illnesses, cutting edge and traditional farming practices, plant propagation techniques, pollinator health, and climate change. Current interests include novel and invasive species, tick-borne illnesses, climate driven threats to nature and humans, environmental gardening and/or farming practices, and anyone who has made a career pursuing these things. In 2019, I launched The Lyme Report, a bi-monthly subscription email newsletter devoted to tick and tick-borne illness research in Canada.

My magazine articles and columns have appeared in many regional and national publications, including Canadian Gardening, Canadian Living, Cottage, Garden Making, The Grower, Harrowsmith, Kootenay Life East, Kootenay Living Magazine, Route 3, Small Farm Canada, and Vitality Magazine. My non-fiction book, Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada (Signature Editions, 2013), explores the growing Lyme disease crisis in this country.

I am also a fiction writer. My short fiction has been published in literary journals across Canada and in the United States, including The Dalhousie Review, dANDelion, filling Station, The New Quarterly, PRECIPICe, Qwerty, and Reed Magazine. One of my short stories, "Napoleon's Eyes", was nominated for the Journey Prize. I have also written two books: the short story collection The Things She'll Be Leaving Behind (Thistledown Press, 2018) and the historical novel The Haweaters (Signature Editions, 2020).

I am a proud member of the Canadian Freelance Guild, The Writers Union of Canada, and Science Writers & Communicators of Canada.

Huge thanks to the Access Copyright Foundation for their financial support through a Marian Hebb Research Grant (2018) and a Professional Development Grant (2013).

Vanessa speaks with host Wayne MacPhail about the impact of climate change on wildfires on the Harrowsmith Radio Podcast.

Vanessa speaks with host Wayne MacPhail about the complicated role climate change plays in the tick invasion of Canada on the Harrowsmith Radio Podcast.