I grew up on a farm near Pyramid Hill, the small Victorian town where I was born. I spent a lot of time surrounded by cows, sheep, dogs, cats, chickens and the occasional snake. I travelled 24 miles to school at Kerang on an ancient bus – top speed 40mph. I loved shearing time and collecting mushrooms in the winter. I now live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast where I cannot tell if the wild mushrooms are safe to eat or not!
I am the author of Anzac Sons: The Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars and the children’s version, Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, which made the 2016 Australian Book Industry Awards longlist and was a CBCA notable book as well. What a great honour! My interest in the service of my ancestors began when I was studying to become a teacher. I used a selection of the letters which my grandfather and his four brothers sent from the Western Front to complete an assignment. The dream to honour their courage and sacrifice was ignited.
My children’s picture book titled Granny’s Place is based on childhood memories of my much-loved grandparents, combined with my own reflections on the changes that life brings. It has subtle links back to Anzac Sons including the home which my grandfather built from mud brick and named Passchendaele when he returned from the war. The companion tale of Shearing Time was released early in 2017. I am delighted to have been a 2017 recipient of a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship, which resulted in the securing of a contract for my first historical novel for young adults to be released in 2019.
Right now I’m working on a series of information books for children called Australia Remembers. The first of these – Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials will be released in October 2018. The design is stunning! Here’s a peek!