I'm a writer, a mother, a veterinarian and a wife ... not necessarily in that order. I write four days a week, work as a vet one day a week, and operate as family taxi-service and cook the rest of the time. My husband is incredibly supportive of my writing (because I'm nicer to live with when I'm working on a book). My children are very patient with me too.
We love being outdoors, travelling, soccer, bushwalking, surfing, animals and nature.
I've been a writer since I could put words onto paper. I received my first writing award when I was in Year 2. Then in Year 3, I had a fabulous teacher who really encouraged creative writing. By Year 4, I was writing novels which were largely based on Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby series. I used to spend hours on my weekends carefully writing down my stories into notebooks. Those early writings are still on my shelves ... quite amusing to my children (who are currently a bit older than they are in the above picture).
When I went to high school things changed. Creative writing was pushed aside in the interests of maths and science. I was good at those too, so I was channelled in this direction in terms of a career (how would I have made a living being a writer anyway ... at least, that's what everyone said when I declared I wanted to write).
I had a very fortunate and free childhood, growing up riding horses in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. I was lucky to survive my first pony, but I suppose he taught me a lot about perseverance and courage. Horses became the shape of my future, and it was through completing my Pony Club certificates that I finally decided I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Writing commenced again when I finished vet school ... although I had been keeping detailed (and painful) journals of my journey through the teenage years. While I was becoming established as a vet, I also attempted to write poetry. This was satisfying, but none of that material will ever see the light of day - remaining safely hidden on some dark and dusty shelves in my study.
Five years into my veterinary career I developed an interest in Australian native wildlife and met my husband-to-be over a Leadbeater's Possum at the Healesville Sanctuary. He took me to Canberra where I tackled a PhD in wildlife health, culminating in a trip to Antarctica after submitting my thesis.
Children came next, threaded among my dreams to write. And then, when my science career was begining to flounder because I refused to sacrifice my family time to devote myself to writing scientific grants, I began to write fiction at last.
Two years, many drafts, some wonderful luck, and The Stranding arrived. Another two years, some guidance from several excellent mentors at Allen&Unwin, and The Lightkeeper's Wife came to be. It has been a great journey, with numerous ups and downs. But that's life, isn't it?