I visited Fort McMurray, Alberta, in 2005, and I met Matthew when I was telling stories at Greely Road School. Matthew lived in a neighbourhood that was all mobile homes, and I made up this story about him. I called in Trailer Scrunch.
In 2010 Scholastic held a contest to pick my next published book, and this was one of the three stories that kids across the country voted on. It didn’t win the contest – the story that won was Give Me Back My Dad! – but this one became a book a couple of years later anyway, with a new title.
When Michael Martchenko started to illustrate the book I sent him a bunch of photos of Fort McMurray and Matthew’s neighbourhood to use for inspiration. Because Matthew’s family was originally from Newfoundland, he also put a lot of souvenirs of Newfoundland in Matthew’s bedroom.