You’ve asked many questions, but my favorite is your question about whether the conflicts in the Martin Bridge series comes from conflicts in my daily life. Why, yes, it most certainly does. However, the people and the places and the events that I write about are completely made up. That’s why it is so much fun to be a fiction writer.
I like your picture of Gus, the tortoise who lives at the Natural History Museum in Halifax. Gus certainly likes his heat lamp. My family has a tortoise, too. We keep her outside in the summer where she can get toasty in the sun. Right now, though, she is grumpy because we have had so much rain this month.