I had the perfect childhood. I was surrounded by animals, cats and dogs (kittens and puppies too, of course) canaries, doves, chickens and ducks (yep, chicks and ducklings), turtles, ferrets, rabbits, cattle and sheep (calves and lambs) and horses and foals. And I had a thousand acres to run around in – they were happy days and that’s why I write for children.
My Grandfather was a stockman and he bred, trained and raced his own racehorses. I spent hours in the saddle as a child, riding with my cousin. We’d hang out in the stables, watching all the comings and goings. There was trackwork, yearlings being broken in, young horses being educated, farriers shoeing racehorses. It was a busy place. We’d help where we could and afterwards, we’d sit around on upturned feed buckets and listen to stories.
When my Grandfather’s brood mares would go into foal, we’d be woken in the middle of the night to go and watch it being born. It was amazing! And I thought this was a normal childhood.
‘I’m passionate about writing true stories. I find something truly gripping about the truth. It’s raw and accessible and there’s nothing better than being able to close your eyes and imagine yourself there’
As a farm child, I studied science at University and worked as a Scientist in Research and Development in the Dairy and Confectionary industry for 16 years. I was literally the ‘mad scientist’ with my white laboratory coat, hair net and steel-capped boots. It was a very cool job. Some days I would eat chocolate all day. Other days cheese. Sometimes both! My work was experimental, developing formulations on a laboratory pilot and then scaling them up to factory size. It was a dream job and it took me all over the world.
But nothing beats being a writer…
How did I start writing? I began to put pen to paper after I had children. It was a compulsion, I just had to write. I wrote with mistakes and all and that’s how I got started. Since then I’ve attended many conferences, writing workshops and creative writing courses I’ve also found myself a good editor.
“I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.”
― Charlotte Brontë
I’m a member of Society of Children’s Book Writer and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and I highly recommend them all.