For me, inspiration is like little pulls on my sleeve, small obsessions that keep me awake at night, whispers… I don’t know where they come from – I suppose the subconscious – and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is paying attention. So, For a long time I’d wanted to write about madness in the family and how the sane people in such a family survived (or didn’t) the terrible tyranny of that disease. But I just couldn’t seem to find a way to begin. I didn’t want to write just another story about a dysfunctional family as I had the sense there was something larger waiting to be written. Then one day I was visiting my mother and she told me the story of a little girl she’d known when she was growing up during the 1930s in Winnipeg. The girl’s mother was “odd” and never let her out of the house. She was permitted to go to school, but other than that she was forced to remain closed up with her neurotic, paranoid mother, behind closed curtains and locked doors. It felt as though a door had been opened on a whole new landscape. The metaphor of The Great Depression was the perfect vehicle for the story I wanted to tell. Set in that era, the story became larger, more meaningful, layered in just the way I wanted.