A little bit about me...
This is me in 2017. I didn't always look like this, although I have had short hair almost all of my life - strangers used to mistake me for a boy - you can probably see why in the pictures that follow...
I was born in a country called Malaya, which is now called Malaysia, in a city called Penang, which is still called Penang. My dad worked there in the Australian Air Force. All I remember about Malaya/Malaysia are the family snapshots like this one with my mum.
My family (Mum, Dad and my two older sisters) moved to Western Sydney when I was still a baby. My dad was a mad keen football fan – Penrith Panthers was his team. Perhaps it wasn’t surprising that when I was little one of my favourite imaginary friends was a black panther - although I like to think I got the idea from ‘The Jungle Book.’
My mum worked in the local library for as long as I can remember. This may be why I love books. Here is my treasured Beatrix Potter collection and one of the soft toys I made when I was going through a ‘soft toy making’ phase (It’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle):
I wrote stories in school like everyone else. I enjoyed it, but was never particularly talented. I love that writing is something you can get better at. Here is one of my school books:
After school I went to Uni and then I worked with children, teenagers and their families, until I started my own. My husband and I have two daughters – here's what our family would look like as Lego mini figures (I'm the one in purple holding the black lap top):
I loved reading to my children every night through bleary eyes – and I fell in love with the picture books – I still can’t stand to throw them away. So I started writing and then studying children’s literature (that’s a University word for books) when my kids were older - it gave me an excuse to keep buying picture books! Here are some family favourites:
I have loved diving in to the Children's Literature world. Since When I See Grandma was published, I've been a book reviewer for the Children's Book Council (CBCA) Reading Time and Creative Kids Tales, as well as a blogger at Just Write For Kids. I'm the secretary of my local CBCA NSW Sub-branch and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (as that's such a mouthful it's usually abbreviated to SCBWI). I also love getting involved with initiatives like International Read to me Day and Book Giving Day.
I have recently gotten into Lego – here’s something I made:
I also like rock climbing with my daughter, but I don’t have any photos because I want her to hold onto the rope with both hands while I climb, so I don’t fall.
Here are some of my animal friends (no longer imaginary) I've had over the years:
I did finally get that horse I dreamed about – when I was 31 years old and living on some land (near Canberra and then near Brisbane). But when we moved back to the city (I live in Sydney now) I couldn’t keep her – but I did manage to bring a donkey!
Thoughts about writing...
For some writerly thoughts, and guest blogging articles, click here.