quick facts + FAQs

Saturday, 17 November 2012

quick facts

Fave colour: Green

Fave fruit: Mangoes, raspberries, pomegranates, figs

Fave lollies: English jelly babies, fruit jellies, chocolate bullets, licorice allsorts (although I now try not to eat too much sugar!)

Fave sport: Yoga, walking, swimming

Fave movies: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, The Color Purple, Les Vacances de M. Hulot, The Sound of Music

Fave books: Question too hard, but I do simply adore the Chronicles of Narnia

Fave flower: Hydrangea, Peony

Fave tree: Willow, Poplar

Fave bands: Radiohead, Massive Attack, Sweet Honey in the Rock

Fave songs: Paranoid Android by Radiohead and At Last by Etta James

Fave fun things to do: Read + write + take photos + drink coffee + make things from paper + illustrate

Fave place to visit: The library. Tasmania. Other countries, especially New Zealand, France, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Vietnam, China. The beach for short visits and the mountains for long visits.

Fave place to be in the whole entire world: Snuggled up with a book. Laughing with the people I love. And travelling. Anywhere.


How long have you been writing? Since I was a kid. My favourite subject was English and creative writing. I've been writing professionally for over 30 years. My first magazine article was for Dolly magazine in 1988.

How old were you when you wrote your first book? I was 10. It was called You and Me - it was a kind of love story!

What was the first thing you had published?
My first poem was published in a Tasmanian newspaper when I was eight. It was called Slowly.

What was the first book you had published? My first book was published in 1995 by Hodder Headline Australia - it was called You Name It and was about the naming process. It also featured a tonne of really unusual names and meanings. I love researching, so this book was great fun. It's now out of print.

How many books have you had published? In 2019, I have 40 books in print or production.

How long does it take you to write a book? For picture books, that depends on my illustrator! Picture books usually take a year or two (or more!) to put a picture book together, from writing it to putting it on the shelves. Junior fiction can take a year to many years. Evie and Pog has taken 5 or 6 years since the original manuscript!

How do you get the shiny bits on the cover of the books? I let the printer take care of that. It's called UV coating.

Where do your ideas come from? Everyday life. The little things that happen, especially when kids are around. I'm also really inspired by travel, art, reading and beautiful things like nature and illustration.

What do you think the secret to author success is? Writing. A lot. Reading. Tenacity. Becoming industry-involved. Going to conferences and festivals. Following your instincts. Doing what you love.

What are some of your favourite things? I love books, maps, calendars {especially advent calendars}, flowers, freshly-grated nutmeg, travel, reading and writing, history, raspberries, styling and photography, gardening, magazines, yoga, kids, open and honest people, fashion, kindness, design ... and organising things.

What are some of your least favourite things? I don't really like rabbit poop or cheap chocolate. I also don't like it when people tailgate, brag, spread gossip or are mean to others. Ignorance is not good, either.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read and write and draw ... which is pretty much what I do for work! I also love to travel with my family, bake delicious morsels, and get into the garden. One of my big loves is photography and I enjoy putting together lovely books featuring our travel photos and notes. I also love lots of different crafts, like papercrafting, working with fabric and ... I absolutely LOVE to knit and crochet. Every winter, I crochet at least two blankets, as well as beanies, scarves ...

Where do you live? I live in Canberra with a superhero husband and two fabulous kids. We live in a paper house at the base of a book mountain.

Where is your favourite place in the world? Anywhere so long as it's with my family ... but I particularly love France, Italy, China, England, Vietnam and New York City. I think Australia is the most beautiful and diverse country in the world but my dream is to buy a house in France or England and spend six months of the year there, and six months here. Working towards it!

What do you love most about writing for kids? Seeing their eyes light up when they make connections with the story. Seeing them laugh and enjoy the words and pictures. Knowing I'm adding, in even the smallest way, to the life-changing joy of full literacy.

When it comes to your work, what are you most proud of? Being invited to be an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading (2012; final report) and an ambassador for the Chief Minister's Reading Challenge. Receiving the Laurie Copping Award for Distinguished Service to Children's Literature. and the SCBWI Crystal Kite award for Australia/New Zealand for Smile Cry. Being signed for my first illustrated book (Australia Illustrated) is something I'm really proud of, too but most of all, I'm proud of producing books that will in any way entertain, educate or enlighten children.

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