I love the places, familiar or imagined, that writing – like reading – takes a person, and when I write I re-visit my adventure-loving ‘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 on, or just off, Rottnest Island.
I was a big fan of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ mystery series and other adventure novels. When life was proving frustratingly safe, I imagined danger in the everyday – the ‘witch’ up the street, the ‘fox’ in the bush, the ‘baddies’ who had to be hidden from. (But everyone does that, right?) It took twenty-odd years of study, travel, work and parenting before I got down to story-writing seriously. From a career in non-fiction (journalism), it was exhilarating writing stuff in which anything was possible. After some community writing courses, I returned eventually to the University of WA, where post-grad studies somehow morphed into a PhD in Creative Writing, completed late in 2013 – a terrific experience!
I showed my work pretty much only to family for ages. But eventually I stopped stalling and sent a story 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 up by Fremantle Press. Suddenly I had total strangers reading my work and my mum was out of a job! Since then, there have been other stories published, I’ve written for ACER/NAPLAN educational testing and have tutored in creative writing at university. My second novel, Mystery at Riddle Gully, which formed part of my PhD thesis, was released in May 2012; Riddle Gully Runaway – which can be read as a stand-alone – was let loose on the public in August 2014. Another novel is under way – but if I told you about it I’d have to kill you.
I live at the other end of the river now, near the port of Fremantle. Aside from writing and getting together with family and friends, I love to read, kayak, swim, take photos, hang out at lacrosse grounds and torture my ukulele.
School & Library Visits
Around writing, I love mixing with young readers and writers. I draw on experience in sports coaching, tutoring, music and musical theatre to make school and library sessions interactive, educational and a heap of fun. For more on author talks and workshops …