‘Write til your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line …’
Two Gentlemen of Verona,
Welcome to my website!
What do we look for in novels? As well as entertainment and escapism, I think we're also in search of ourselves, as individuals and as a species: we want to know who we are a little better, recognising ourselves in other's actions and reactions, perhaps subconsciously evaluating how we might have acted in similar circumstances; and we also want to find out about others, what they did, how they behaved, what made them great or gruesome. In my opinion, there's little better than finding a fabulous historical novel to transport you to a familiar and yet whole new other time and place. That said, I'm a sucker for great contemporary fiction, especially if it has engaging characters (which doesn't mean I have to like them!), a compelling mystery, or a strong romantic thread pulling me along; but give me all of those elements, seamlessly interwoven under the same cover, and I'm pretty much in reading heaven. Oh, happy days! This is what I strive for in my own writing.
With an MA in history from St. Andrew’s University (completed some time in the Dark Ages), and by profession an English and history teacher, I also spent nearly eight years in the army, teaching military history, completing four operational tours in war-torn Bosnia, and even enjoying a stint living in Edinburgh Castle - so steeped in history you can feel it in the frigid stone walls. Perhaps it’s little wonder that my writing to date has been historically-inspired.
When I’m not doggedly tracking down a piece of historical dynamite, of trailing after the distant echo of will o’ the wisp characters from the past, you’ll find me at my desk writing.
I've been fortunate enough to have my writing recognised in a number of different writing forums: I won the First Pages prize of the Historical Novels Society of Australasia (2017), I was long-listed for the Richell Award (Hachette) in 2018; and in 2019 I was awarded a mentorship through the Australian Society of Authors. My short story 'Fare Thee Well' which is written from Shakespeare's wife's perspective was shortlisted in the 2019 HNSA Short Story Competition and published in Backstory e-zine.
Shakespeare is one of my literary heroes and I have the quote at the top of this page pinned over my desk at home. Why? Because it reminds me not only how great Shakespeare was, shaking up the writing scene in London and reshaping our language, but this quote also speaks of the hard graft and emotional investment required of writing. In so many ways, it is a labour of love.
I hope you find what you’re looking for in these web pages. Thank you for visiting!
May you love what you read and read what you love!
P.S. I’m looking forward to sharing my future stories as they come to fruition, but in the meantime to find out more, please subscribe to my newsletter, or read my blog.
Born in Fiji, my early years were spent in idyllic bliss on a string of coral islands, Kiribati, in the Pacific. Some of my first memories are of flying half way around the world (aged 7) to boarding school in bitterly cold North Yorkshire and having countless torches confiscated for reading under the blankets after 'lights out'.
My father, an author of historical romance novels, first inspired my love of fiction and stories. As a child, as well as developing a passion for reading (and escapism - but that's a whole other story), I loved acting. I performed in every stage production going at school, and went on to act and sing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in various dramatic productions while at university in St. Andrew's, Scotland.
Being a lover of literature and history, and something of a thespian at heart, my first employer was not, perhaps, the most obvious of choices: the British Army. In the 1990s, while in the military, I participated in four peace-keeping operational tours in Bosnia which I now recognise had a huge impact on me. Working in various liaison and interpreting roles, I also wrote, edited and produced the troops' magazine, The Desert Rat. As you can imagine, at times life during the war in Bosnia was confronting, but compared to most people, I was very fortunate. Despite this, the experience was eye-opening, undoubtedly affecting my entire outlook on life and humanity.
After leaving the army, I worked for an educational charity before going on to run Microsoft’s Press Centre in the UK. Having my own children was something of a watershed and I decided I would like to become a teacher. It is something I have done ever since, although nowadays I'm a tutor of student teachers.
I've always had itchy feet, perhaps because of my itinerant lifestyle as a child. As well as Australia, I've lived in Fiji, Kiribati, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, England, Scotland, Germany and France. Now I've made my home on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Australia. It's a special corner of the world and I love living here. Most days I spend my time wrestling for creative writing time in between tutoring, reading, social media and family - and regularly feel guilty about giving none of them sufficient focus!
Writing and Editing
My main passion and work-in-progress has had a long gestation: it was first conceived when I was living in Edinburgh Castle back in the '90s. I've now finished writing The Book Lovers but it's in incubation. The Book Lovers a dual timeline story about two women, separated by five hundred years but connected by a book. It's not your average book, and they aren't your average women ...
In 2020 I'm going to try my hand at writing some more short stories, I'm helping to edit other authors' novels, and I'm researching my own next big project.
I write and publish a quarterly newsletter for readers and writers, about reading and writing. It includes my own writing news, author interviews, book reviews, excerpts from my blog and more...
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