I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved the Blinky Bill books, Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five and Secret Seven. Also still remember blubbering into my pillow as I read Lassie Come Home and Black Beauty and The Happy Prince.
When I was a teenager, every weekend was spent travelling to beaches in big cars with surfboards on the roof. An old movie, ‘Gidget’ (surfie chick movie) is so reminiscent of those magical years, no matter how many times I watch it, my heart sings with remembered daring and joy. My young adult novel Summer's Story had its origins in those carefree years – wagging school in summer and nicking off to the beach. Heaven!
My early career was with an airline for some five years. This led to publication of my first article in a women's magazine, followed by travel stories. This photo was taken during ditching training.
At about age ten, I learned I could tame, train and teach birds to talk. To this day birds, both wild and domestic, fascinate me. I've always had tame pet birds, as well as a dog or two.
I have completed courses in scriptwriting, short story writing, creative writing and poetry. In 1996 I obtained the Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing & Editing), which initiated my interest in writing for young people. Now, what was once a creative, enjoyable hobby has become an absolute passion.
I love to learn. This has brought me to try different pursuits, and over the years I have taken courses in yoga, pottery, piano, making handmade teddybears and machine-sewn patchwork quilts, calligraphy, and tai chi. Most recently I've spent a couple of years learning to create porcelain dolls and making their outfits, and I handknit and crochet baby blankets for charity.
My two sons, Michael and James, have grown into fine and admirable young adults. I was married for 26 years to Brian, before he got cancer and died in late 2000. He was a Vietnam veteran, Federal Police detective, UN peacekeeper, as well as a tri-athlete, adventurer, philosopher and dreamer. And, mostly, he was our lighthouse in rough seas. He is still that.
My main ambition is to stay healthy.
Other than that, I’d like to take a trip across Australia on the Ghan. Or take a cruise on the Queen Mary 2! Both cost a great deal of money so they’re very lofty aspirations.
I love watching people dancing flamenco, it's so exciting and dramatic; I feel that if I just watch and imagine and wish hard enough, I could do that, too! Also love wild storms, the more lightning and thunder the better. Chocolate is also one of my top favourite things.
So if I was in my garden and there was a bird on my shoulder and a dog at my feet, people flamenco dancing nearby and a storm on the horizon – with maybe a block of chocolate to the ready – that's my idea of bliss.
At my beach house I have created a garden paradise – native trees and shrubs, honeysuckle-covered fences, passionfruit and grape vines. You can follow paths that meander among roses and fruit trees, leading to garden seats of stone and wood. I’ve installed bird houses, bird baths and bird feeders. The garden’s wild residents include possums, frogs, and a spackle-backed lizard that loves apricots. An ibis comes to visit - I've even seen a snake slithering in the iris clumps. The garden is home to wattlebirds, doves, galahs and magpies.
My own reading is mostly fiction. I especially like books with settings I am unlikely to experience, like an African jungle complete with stampeding elephants, or expeditions to the Antarctic. Sometimes I read biographies and autobiographies.