I love the places, familiar or imagined, that writing – like reading – takes a person, and when I write I happily visit my ‘inner kid’. I grew up beside the Canning River in Perth, Western Australia, spending summers in bathers tagging after my brothers and sister, dodging jellyfish at Deepwater Point jetty, hacking around on bikes and topping up in the kitchen of my Nan and Pa, who lived just over the hill. As a teenager, there were fascinating visits to my dad and stepmum in Papua New Guinea and, throughout it all, frequent spells at Rottnest Island.
I was a big fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five mystery series and of Rider Haggard’s adventures set in Africa. When life proved frustratingly safe, I imagined intrigue and danger in the everyday. (Everyone does that, right?) Although I’d always loved story-writing, it took twenty-odd years of study, travel, work and parenting before I got down to it seriously. From a career in non-fiction, it was fun writing stuff in which anything was possible. After a few community courses, I returned eventually to the University of WA, where post-grad studies morphed into the PhD in creative writing I’m working on now.
At first, I showed my creations almost solely to family, basking in the praise of my enthusiastic mum. But when a distant friend died too young I stopped stalling and sent a story written for uni to the long-running NSW School Magazine. Sacre blue! It was accepted! The family, the dog and I had barely stopped dancing when my novel Spider Lies was taken by Fremantle Press. Suddenly I had total strangers reading my work – my mum was out of a job! I’ve since had other short stories published, written for ACER educational testing and tutored in creative writing at UWA. My second novel, Mystery at Riddle Gully, which forms part of my PhD, was released in May 2012 to a wonderful response. A sequel is under way.
I live near the ocean and Reabold Hill bushland with family, a cat, some bossy possums who live in the roof and the ghost of a friendly old dog. Aside from writing, I like to swim, kayak, take photos, hang out at lacrosse grounds and accost my ukulele.
School & Library Visits
Around writing, I love mixing with the youngies for which I write. I draw on experience in sports coaching, tutoring, music and theatre to make school and library sessions interactive and fun. For more on author talks and workshops …