Favourite Quote to Live By:
I rather like this one, which Amelia Earhart is believed to have said: ‘The most effective way to do it, is to do it.’
Plotter or Pantser?
I’m more of a plotter, but lately – with my fiction books – I’ve found I can veer off into directions I hadn’t planned. It’s quite exciting, actually, to be spontaneous occasionally!
Captain Thunderbolt was shortlisted for an ABIA in 2015. Shoot-out at the Rock (Tommy Bell #1) was a CBCA ‘notable’ book in 2017. The Runaway (Tommy Bell #7) was shortlisted for a Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award in 2019. A long time ago (1994) I won a short story prize in the Banjo Paterson festival in Orange, where I was living at the time. The exciting thing about that was that my prize (a book voucher) was presented to me by Kate Grenville, an author I greatly admire.
Who Influenced Your Writing Career?
Enid Blyton made me want to be a writer; a devoured her books when I was a kid. Hesba Brinsmead’s Pastures of the Blue Crane fuelled that desire. Queensland author John Danalis encouraged me to pursue publication (thanks, John). I dream of being able to write as well as Barbara Kingsolver and Alexander McCall Smith one day. They’re very different authors but both brilliant at what they do; I can’t say that they’ve influenced my style but they do inspire me to keep writing.
Most Valuable Lesson Learnt as a Writer?
There’s always something more to learn and always room to improve. I guess this is true of life, not just writing.
Favourite Place to Write:
My antique writing desk in my study at home. It’s not at all practical or ergonomic but I love it.
Some of Your Books: ‘The Australian Bushrangers’ non-fiction series (Captain Thunderbolt, Captain Moonlite, Captain Starlight, Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner). The ‘Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy’ is a series of historical fiction books for kids. There are seven titles so far in that series and six to come. I have two published book for adults so far: Captain Starlight: The Strange but True Story of a Bushranger, Impostor and Murderer and Ship of Death: The Tragedy of the ‘Emigrant’.
A New World: book 1 of the ‘Carly Mills, Colonial Girl’ series.
Favourite Line / Short Paragraph from your book:
“Carly lay in the dark and thought of home. Homesickness pressed upon her chest and stomach, exactly where the corset had been earlier. When she had left her family to visit another state, she hadn’t expected to be visiting another century as well!”