I grew up (a long time ago!) in a small bush town in Africa. No TV, iPods, computer games and surfing the internet – you could say I had a very deprived childhood! Not so. Instead, for entertainment I learned to read. Books became my windows to the world: they told me about dragons and fairies and magic. They told me about other countries and other cultures. They told me about myself. And I have never stopped reading, because I love stories.
I guess I always did things back to front – the hard way! In Africa, when I ran out of books to read, I wrote my own (see pic of one of my early efforts!). I love writing stories, but I never thought about it as a grownup occupation. As a grownup, I had to go back to school to find out that I really was a writer. After doing the HSC at the age of 40, I went on to do a BA (Communications) degree at UTS. My major was creative writing, and suddenly I found myself experimenting with all sorts of genres and, in particular, writing the sorts of stories that I love to read – crime and timeslip fantasy back into the past.
I then went on to do an MA in Children’s Literature at Macquarie University, during which time two novels for children were published: Three’s a Crowd (written under the pseudonym Anne Holmes) published by Pan Macmillan, and Ghost Boy, now published by Random House Australia. Wally the Water Dragon (Blake Education) and Surfing the Future (Wendy Pye NZ) came next.