yvonne & sandy
yvonne & sandy

The Wide Shot... Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

We met as teens while working in a public library in a Toronto suburb. Writing books together was the last thing on our minds at that point. In fact, our animated discussions in the book stacks about boys, clothes and beauty products soon led the evil head librarian to schedule us on separate shifts.

While attending the University of Toronto, our conversational topics expanded somewhat and we managed to complete Bachelor of Arts degrees—Yvonne's in Criminology and Sandy's in English Literature. Yvonne promptly launched into a series of unsuitable jobs, while Sandy delayed the inevitable by getting a second degree in journalism.

Flash forward a decade or so to find Yvonne on the camera crew of major feature films, and Sandy working in corporate communications. We still talked about boys, clothes and beauty products, but despite our best efforts, we had come to the age of reason and it was time to share what we'd learned.

At the urging of Yvonne's niece, we wrote a book for teens called Totally Me: The Teenage Girl's Survival Guide. When we ran out of good advice, we turned to writing fiction—first for adults, with Speechless, and then for teens, with TruLeigh.

Although we currently live in downtown Toronto, we head back to the suburbs regularly.

Zoom in on Yvonne...

When I'm not writing books with Sandy, I can usually be found on a film set, where life is anything but dull. I've hung off the side of Toronto's CN tower, faced down a Grizzly bear, danced with Gregory Hines, and shared a beer with Ireland's Lord Guinness.

In 2003, Panavision Canada recognized my camera skills with the coveted Woody Award. It's an honor. Really.

And to think I almost became a cop. Fortunately for the citizens of Toronto, I flunked the psychological profile. Then, there was my brief stint as a bank manager, but I don't want to dwell on that.

Better to dwell on the restaurant job where I met the man who became my husband. I was the bartender; he was the busboy. It's still a perfect match: I get to call the "shots" and he cleans up after me. More importantly, he cleans up after our schnauzer, whom we affectionately describe as a four-bagger (Note: Dog-owners, you know what I'm talking about here).

I am a tea granny and a home dècor magazine junkie. I play the piano, although I don't own one. I own two guitars, although I don't play them. I sing to my dog, wear fleece even in summer, and never miss an episode of Coronation Street.

I could go on, but my tea is cold. And let's face it, you probably stopped reading after I mentioned the Woody Award.

Zoom in on Sandy...

When not writing books with Yvonne, I continue to work in corporate communications. Cubicle life may be less glamorous than life on a film set, but it has its appeal. For starters, I don't have to hang off buildings or face down grizzlies. Plus, I get paid to care about split infinitives, punctuation and the use of the passive voice.

I often write about technology, although I am a confirmed technophobe. I love speechwriting, but I hate speaking in public. I hate planning, but I like deadlines.

The worst job I ever had was washing towels in a gym in a creepy, roach-infested laundry room. The best job I ever had was handing out clean towels at the same gym—with an all-male staff and an open door to the men's change room.

My main interests—aside from writing books, reading books, and reading about writing books—are coffee, chocolate, and running. My ideal day combines all of the above with blog-hopping to the sites of my favorite authors followed by a good hit of TV.

I've never won an award as prestigious as the Woody, but I'm happy for Yvonne. Really. It's an honor just to write with her.

Extra Footage...
  • Yvonne can drive in reverse at high speeds; Sandy would drive with the hazards on at all times if she could.
  • Our year has two seasons: Summer and Cashmere.
  • We owned iPods for a year before figuring out how to use them.
  • As teens, we were obsessed with tanning; today we are obsessed with skin rejuvenating products.
  • We finish every "ideas session" with sushi and cheap champagne.
  • We can cover up to 20 topics in the course of hour, particularly if we're supposed to be working.
  • We love discussing fitness and nutrition over coffee and rich desserts.
  • We were roommates for three years, during which we survived on blender drinks, caramels, and homemade cookies.
  • Today, we are 20 pounds lighter than when we lived together.
  • As roommates, we launched our tradition of Politically Incorrect Thursdays. On vacations, every day is Thursday.
  • We enjoy long days in the wilderness, followed by nights in five-star hotels.
  • Our favorite town is the one with a Starbucks on every corner.


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