I’m Paula Louise Salvador, and I love telling stories to young people. It always makes me smile to see the sparkle in their eyes when they’re totally caught up in the action. I also love dinosaurs, so I’ve written this novel where the characters are young dinosaurs. Like kids today, they’re trying to grow up in a difficult world—with the added danger of being eaten by a toothy Albertosaur.
During my career as a director and writer of science documentaries for television, I actually held in my hands the fossilized skeletons of two baby dinosaurs, a Troödon and a Hypacrosaur. DINOSAUR BABIES: THE NORTH AMERICAN STORY is a documentary that explores the discoveries of sites where these dinosaurs built their nests, laid their eggs and raised their young. I still get goose bumps when I look at the images of the leg of the tiny Troödon baby, all curled up in its egg. It reminded me of a little chicken. The embryo was about to hatch when its nest was flooded in a mudslide 75 million years ago.
Troödon nest and eggs with Dr. David J. Varricchio, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana.
Photo credit: Kimberly S. Donau
As for the Hypacrosaur, seeing its little skull brought tears to my eyes when I learned that it had been grinding its teeth, inside its shell, in preparation for chewing plants in the outside world.
Half-grown Hypacrosaur at Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Wembley, Alberta
I never forgot these two precious fossils. I named them Trygg and Alta, then decided to tell the tale of their unlikely friendship.
As a documentary film maker, I have had great adventures. The scariest was when I stood under the ribs of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. This is a picture of that T. rex with Dr. Philip J. Currie who’s not scared because he’s a world-famous scientist, and he loves all dinosaurs.
One of the fun times I’ve had filming was when our crew flew in a helicopter over the dig-sites in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. On the ground, I hiked with Dr. Currie and Dr. Koppelhus as they tracked dinosaur finds near spooky hoodoo formations.
On the dangerous side, I had to dodge alligators in the swampy bayous of Mississippi while looking for the best place to film. (Not there!)
I’ve met many fascinating people, particularly jazz legend Oscar Peterson and composer Philip Glass, who performed in our show on electronic music. Musician Daniel Lanois played guitar for us too.
Paula with Daniel Lanois
Photo credit: Michael Ellis
In “BUILD GREEN” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship science series “THE NATURE OF THINGS”, I visited rock star Randy Bachman’s super sustainable house with host and environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki.
David Suzuki and Paula at the CBC
I studied in Aix-en-Provence, France where I got a Masters in French Literature from l’Université de Provence. I also have a Bachelor of Arts (including Children’s Literature) from McGill University, Canada. I love reading all kinds of books in English and in French.