I was born in Australia in 1968, in a small northern Queensland town called Ayr. I grew up with an older sister and two younger brothers on a farm with lots of dogs, cats, chooks, cranky parrots and bossy roosters.
I was very fortunate to have my grandparents living in the same town too. I particularly remember my grandmothers (my nonnas). One nonna lived next door; she made fantastic hamburgers. My other nonna wore outrageous platform shoes and painted her toenails red until she was 93!
I loved books from a early age and without doubt it was because my parents encouraged them. My mum always read us books at night. (One night, my sister and I wanted her to skip the part in Charlotte’s Web where Charlotte died, so that for us Charlotte wouldn’t die!) My dad was a great storyteller, always doing lots of dramatisation while telling us a story.
I remember my teacher reading Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar when I was about six at school. I was absolutely spellbound by them. I couldn’t wait to borrow them from the school library.
The Dr Seuss books were another of my favourites. I would borrow these books so much that my mum would say something like, “Oh no! Not again!”
At age 11, I made my first children’s picture book for a school project called, A Day at the Circus. My sixth grade teacher had a children’s book published and encouraged us to write and illustrate our own picture book. This was one school project I absolutely loved doing. It was here that I began dreaming of being a picture book writer.
But I thought dreams were only dreams and didn’t do anything serious about writing until 1995 which was many years later. I thought it was time to do something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I enrolled in the Brisbane TAFE College and over the next four years spent my early mornings and weekends enjoying external writing courses.
After finishing the courses, I wrote a number of stories which didn’t seem to catch the attention of any publisher. So I sought extra help. Fortunately, Australian children’s writer/illustrator Ann James became my mentor. She helped me revise my manuscripts and kept encouraging me to keep writing while getting those rejection slips.
And then finally, it happened. In late 1997 I had a picture book manuscript accepted for publication by Working Title Press. It was called Baby. To make it extra exciting, Ann had been asked to illustrate it. And that’s how it all began.
Reading is my other favourite interest as well as collecting picture books. I especially love reading about nature, particularly animals and this reflects in my writing.
Starring in my books have been all sorts of animals including a nervous bat, a plucky penguin and a frightened feathered dinosaur.
Now that I am a parent, life with my young adventurous family has been depicted in ‘It’s Bedtime’, ‘What Makes My Mum Happy’ and ‘What Makes My Dad Happy’
I mainly work free of charge as a high speed rescuer, bath-time patrol officer, chef, lost toy detective, cleaner-upper, waker-upper, bedtime party pooper, referee, chauffeur, storyteller, combat medic etc, etc, for my young family.