I'm an Australian author. I grew up in country New South Wales in a neighbourhood stuffed full of happy children. My adult years have been spent raising boys, teaching, daydreaming, perfecting my recipe for choc-chip bickies and pursuing my love of stories.
I celebrate family, friendship and belonging in my writing. I also love creating stories that bring joy to other people’s lives.
I now live in central Victoria, on the side of a hill (in a house, not just in the long grass!) with my family and an exuberant black whippet called Olive. I hope one day to own a spotted pig called Harold.
Photo by Rebecca Rock
A Late Bloomer
The Young Author
This is me on my first day of school. I did not think I'd become a writer at this age. I probably thought more of becoming a hairdresser, a farmer, a teacher or a superhero.
I first thought of becoming a writer when I was ten. My grandfather gave me his old typewriter, so I thought it might be a good idea to write a novel. Easy peasy! Hmmm. Or maybe not. By the end of the first page, my heroine was in a dreadful spot of bother, hanging from a cliff by the tips of her fingers, and I had no idea how to save her. Nor did my hero - he wasn't showing a jot of initiative. So I gave up! It all seemed too hard and not nearly as exciting as climbing trees and thrashing about at the local pool with my friends. I tossed the story and the typewriter aside.
It was many years before I felt excited once more about writing, but when the bug bit, that was it. I fell in love with stories.
I still write myself into a corner sometimes, but over the years I have worked out a number of ways to back myself out again. I don't need to throw the novel or the computer away!
That poor, innocent doll, by the way, was given a dreadful haircut by me soon after the photo was taken. It's a good job I didn't become a hairdresser!
The Thoughtful Author
The NSW Premier's Awards, 2014
Here I am with my mother, after winning the Patricia Wrightson Award for Children's Literature for my book, The Girl Who Brought Mischief.
Launching Olive of Groves
The Writer's Companion
Writing books can be a solitary job, but I am never lonely because I have Olive to keep me company. Olive is my beautiful, black whippet. She sleeps by my desk while I work, then comes for walks with me when I need to clear my head and mull over a plot problem away from my written words.
You can see from these photos that Olive is not only a companion but a cheeky ratbag. I'm sure she will star in her own book one day!
Before Olive, I had a crazy white whippet called Snowy. She, too, was a wonderful friend.
After playing in the storm water drains with her friend Turbo the poodle.
Joining me on a hill walk around our property.
After burying a tomato.
Just being a pork chop.
The Writer's Workspace
I work on a computer at a desk in my study. Sounds boring, I know, but it works for me!
The desk is large and filled with pens, pencils, papers, notepads and coffee pots - all the important things to keep me supplied for a day's solid writing. There's a cork board on the wall where I stick cards full of notes about the characters and plot of the novel I'm working on. And there's a book nook full of books (of course) and other quirky treasures.
I have a splendid view from my study, so even though I'm working inside, I get to enjoy nature all day long!
Here it's facing the cork board full of notes, but now it faces the windows and looks out to the view (below).
The view from my desk.
Another view from my desk.
The Book Nook
I do use an online thesaurus and dictionary, but still rely heavily on reference books made of real paper and ink!
Authors get to travel all over the countryside and mix with lots of interesting people. I especially love visiting schools and sharing my passion for stories, books and words with children.
At Town Hall, Sydney, talking to 2000 school students - Sydney Writers' Festival 2018
At Town Hall, Sydney, talking to 2000 students - Sydney Writers' Festival 2018
A Friendly Cow
This cow really has nothing to do with my books. I met her when travelling out of Jugiong in NSW during Book Week 2016. She was too pretty and too affectionate not to include in my gallery of photos.