I have always wanted to write books. Words are a passion –a deliciously bottomless source of fascination.
When I was a teenager we rescued a chestnut mare from a run down riding school. Her name was Duchess. She evolved from an emaciated fearful creature to a gymkhana and show-jumping winner and she and I learned together the meaning of determination and overcoming fear. (Those show jumps are eye-wateringly huge close up.)
Duchess still holds a special place in my heart. In fact I cried when I came across this photo. But as I grew into an adult, Duchess became my sister’s horse and I took on the business of earning an income. My love of words and shorthand bolstered my secretarial skills. My ability to write gave the necessary edge for good grades as a social work student. And as a social work practitioner in child welfare and protection I relished case notes, reports and policies, jumping at any opportunity to write while others grumbled. This was also the time when the building-blocks of stories began to take shape in my mind.
When I became a mother I gained new insights into my own childhood and into life and children in general. Parenthood also reinforced the vulnerability and preciousness of children, particularly when they are our own. My stories began to flourish then with extra passion and poignancy.
Once our son grew and work commitments slowed a little (I will always be working at something) I studied professional writing at the Adelaide College of the Arts. So began my debut novel, ‘What Matters Most’. At the same time I won the first writing competition I entered. This created an alarmingly false sense of confidence, speedily shattered by three publishers’ rejections for ‘What Matters Most’.
Then I learned through Fiona McIntosh’s Master Class precisely how to write a novel that publishers and readers would love.
My passion for words and writing, the grit and determination taught to me by my beloved Duchess and life in general, including life as a parent, and my lovely publishing contract with HarperCollins means I am now able to share my stories.
I want to do justice to the children who are my inspiration. And to ensure at the same time that each of these children do not recognise their story within mine. And when my readers close my books and ponder what they have read, I want to be certain they will do so with a sense of joy and abundant hope.