I’ve loved making up characters, worlds and stories for as long as I can remember.
I grew up on a farm in south-east Queensland. We didn’t have a TV, so—along with copious reading—my younger sister and I entertained ourselves by playing elaborate games featuring our stuffed toys. Our favourites were Schools (my sister was always the teacher; my job was to make the students misbehave), Hospitals (in spite of their debilitating injuries, the patients were outrageously naughty) and Libraries (we stuck homemade due date slips into all our books… and, you guessed it, the patrons were a nightmare).
When I started high school, we got our first computer. It didn’t have the internet, but my sister and I were intrigued by the idea of chat rooms… so we made our own! It was in a Microsoft Works document that grew to be hundreds of pages long over the years. We each had an extensive cast of characters we were responsible for. I still remember Babe Punkstuff and Chicky Babe, who ended up meeting in person and falling in love. And, of course, the aliens, who typed in Wingdings (●︎♓︎🙵♏︎ ⧫︎♒︎♓︎⬧︎).
I also love making music. I started learning the piano when I was 5 years old and the drums when I was 35. In between, I also learnt the organ, clarinet, tenor saxophone (briefly), trombone, guitar and ukulele. My favourite is the guitar, which I started learning at 13, and which introduced me to the outlet of songwriting. I wrote many songs over the following decade (some of which are quite embarrassing now!) and spent many a happy evening performing them in living rooms and around campfires. A few of those songs have survived almost twenty years and are still sung with vim, vigour and volume by my friends and me when we get together!
When I was 23 and newly married, my husband and I set off on a working holiday that lasted nine years. We lived in southern England for a year, then on Canada’s west coast for the rest of the time. During those years, my main writing outputs were an extremely wordy travel blog (which we later had printed into four very chunky hardcover volumes as a memento of our adventures) and regular 3000-word emails to the friends I missed back home. By the time we returned to Australia in 2016, we had two little Canadian-Australian sons. A couple of years later, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction for kids, and I’ve never looked back.
Nowadays, my life is still full of characters, worlds and stories. I work for a teacher-librarian network, volunteer for a book review website, belong to two critique groups and two book clubs, attend improv classes, and am active in the Brisbane kidlit community and the online Bookstagram world. Then, to relax, I read books…