Chocolate éclairs with whipped cream. That's what started me writing.
When I was at boarding school, the tuckshop sold these to-die-for éclairs. My friends paraded around with them at recess but I could only drool. My pocket money usually went on getting my glasses fixed (I have an International Certificate in Advanced Clumsiness) so to earn extra money, I wrote short pieces for women's magazines.
I went on to teach English at high school and college level and continued to sell stories and articles. Then, around 1992, I took a challenging teaching job on a remote Indigenous community in Western Australia. My role was to teach reading and writing to children who were fluent in several Aboriginal languages but not English. They had little interest in the glossy readers on the library shelves; stories about pet parades and party dresses weren't on their list of Top Ten Fascinating Reads. Challenged by this, I began writing poems about the kids' own immensely rich experiences of desert life. The very first poem was called Anna the Goanna.
Anna the goanna
Is fat and slow,
Her belly is like jelly
Wobbling to and fro,
Here come the hunters
Looking high and low,
Go Anna! Go Anna!
As time went on, I had an impressive collection of poems, and my students thrived on them. Other teachers asked for copies and eventually I sent the poems to a publisher. Three years later (nothing happens quickly in the publishing world), Anna the Goanna and other poems was born.
I'll admit it, the minute that baby hit the bookshelves I was sold on being an author. I loved doing media appearances (in a scared kind of way) and I loved visiting schools to share my writing.
Before long, I was writing my heart out. In time, more poems were published as well as short stories, plays, beginning readers, chapter books, novels and non-fiction books. In fact, I reckon I've published over 100 titles in the last nine years. My latest novel Jinxed! is published by Walker Books in Australia and the UK.
This year I have new books coming out with Blake Education, Pearson/Dorling Kindersley and Era Publications.
I hope you enjoy cruising my site.