Writing, reading, writing about reading, reading about writing — and talking about writing and reading — are among the activities I enjoy most. I read and write every day, and have been lucky enough to have earned my living from both pursuits for more than 30 years, as a freelance journalist, editor, sub-editor and communicator. I started reading before I started kindergarten, by sharing my oldest sister’s school reading books that she brought home from class each day, and discovered the joys of writing not long after.
In recent years I have rediscovered the joys — and the challenges and frustrations — of writing fiction. I’m in the early stages of writing my first novel, which could perhaps be described as a “nostalgic coming-of-age tale about a freckle-faced chatterbox, a local bully and a literature-loving Gallipoli veteran”. It’s set in a blue-collar suburb on the outskirts of the Western Australian capital, not unlike the place where I grew up. And it is proving more difficult to write than I could have possibly imagined — but I’m giving it a red-hot go.
In October 2016, I had an essay published in the Let’s Face It anthology, produced by the Rockingham Writers Centre with funding from Act Belong Commit and Healthway. And my first children’s picture book, Every Family is Different, has just been be published through the Serenity Kids imprint of Serenity Press.
I read dozens of books each year, across a broad range of genres, with a preference for quality, character-driven stories that generate an emotional response. I also review books for Good Reading magazine, and have interviewed many highly regarded, popular or award-winning authors, including Isabel Allende, Geraldine Brooks, Lisa Genova, Philippa Gregory, Emma Donoghue and the late, great Colleen McCullough. This year I’ve added Eric Van Lustbader, Judy Nunn and Robert Drewe to the list of authors I’ve interviewed.
I’m a passionate advocate for Australian authors and books, particularly those hailing from my home state, Western Australia, and I’m always eager to attend book launches and other events to support those authors. I’ve been lucky enough to invite several award-winning authors to my book club, including Craig Silvey. Stephen Daisley, Amanda Curtin and Natasha Lester.
As a member of and volunteer for a local writers’ centre, I have been part of a dedicated team creating opportunities for artists and writers (and readers) to explore their interests through workshops, presentations, a convention, professional development events, exhibitions, book fairs, networking events and more.