I have many years’ experience talking to students and adults about researching and writing my novels, and also conducting creative writing workshops in a wide variety of genres.  For bookings, please contact the Booking Agencies below.  For questions, please contact me via my website.

Sydney/NSW:

Paul Macdonald at The Children’s Bookshop.  Contact: staff@thechildrensbookshop.com.au

PIE Productions: Performance in Education.  Contact: admin@pieproductions.com.au

Melbourne:

Booked Out Agency. Contact: bookings@bookedout.com.au.

Workshop topics include:

  • Writing short stories – exploring the building blocks of writing a story, including creating believable characters and a compelling plot
  • Writing fantasy – creating an ‘otherworld’ with strong, believable characters, fantastic creatures and magical objects in order to solve a quest, using illustrations and magical objects to stimulate the imagination.
  • Writing crime – whodunnit, and why? Crime is about careful plotting, believable characters and the seeding of clues to keep readers guessing until the end while setting the scene and answering all the questions.
  • Writing history – weaving imaginary characters and events into real history to create a compelling story, using photographs, historical accounts etc to set the scene.
  • Writing from life – everyone has an interesting story to tell. How to craft fiction from real events and real emotions, using photos, diaries, historical accounts etc to recreate the past..

These hands-on workshops include the use of ‘magical’ (and other) objects, photographs and artefacts designed to stimulate the imagination and get those creative juices flowing!

Primary:

Ghost Boy (Random House Australia) is a timeslip adventure for readers aged 9+. It is set partly during the grisly past of the Quarantine Station in Sydney during an outbreak of smallpox in 1881. Can 12-year-old Froggy overcome his fear of the sea and learn to trust both Cassie and the Ghost Boy in order to find out the secrets of the past? Themes in this novel include immigration, quarantine and the early treatment of disease, having the courage to face your fears, family and identity. NB There is a special Ghost Boy tour of the Quarantine Station in Sydney for schools studying the novel. For bookings phone the Education Co-ordinator on (02) 9466 1566 or email H8773-CR3@accor.com or visit www.quarantinestation.com.au for prices, curricula links, teachers’ kits, risk management documents and FAQs. This talk is illustrated with maps, photographs, copies of the Royal Commission into the QS, my earliest mss, etc. Ghost Boy is now under option for a movie.

The Shalott Trilogy (now out of print) is a timeslip fantasy for readers 11+. Five Australian teenagers go back to the court of King Arthur to rewrite the legend. They hope to save Camelot from doom, while also saving the life of ‘The Lady of Shalott’ – but they rewrite their own destinies instead. Themes include myths and legends, time travel, medieval history, magic, identity, courage, morality and honour,love, ambition and treachery. Shalott won the biennial Society of Women Writers book award in the Young Adult category in 2001. I am planning to republish it in the near future as a bind-up trilogy.

Talks for younger children include: where ideas come from: using artefacts, pets, photographs and other techniques to generate ideas. I show students an early manuscript (complete with mistakes and rewriting) and illustrate its development to the printed page. These talks are based on Surfing the Future (Wendy Pye NZ) – a future-slip surfing adventure for readers aged 8+;  Wally the Water Dragon (Blake Education) which is based on a family of water dragons resident in our garden; Turning the Page (National Museum of Australia)which is  based on an artefact from the Springfield collection in the NMA and The Little Penguins of Manly, the story of these cute little penguins, their fight for survival and how they may be protected..

Secondary

The Shalott trilogy – now out of print but soon to be republished as a bind-up trilogy.

The Janna Chronicles (Pan Macmillan Australia.) Previously published as The Janna Mysteries. In this medieval crime series for adults and teenagers set in the 1140s,  the death of Janna’s mother and the actions of the villagers force her to flee for her life – but the chance finding of a hidden letter prompts her to go in search of her unknown father in the hope that he will help her fulfil her vow to avenge her mother’s death and bring the man responsible to justice. Along her journey, Janna encounters many mysteries and crimes to solve, not the least the mystery of her own birth – and her heart. These novels give a vivid portrayal of different aspects of life in medieval time as Janna travels from village to forest, farm and abbey, with her journey finally leading her into the heart of the royal court. As Janna comes closer to the truth, so she becomes embroiled in the bitter civil war between King Stephen and his cousin and rightful heir to the throne, the Empress Matilda and she is forced to take sides and make a decision: to please her father and fulfil her vow to her mother or lose the man she loves . The novels themes of identity & belonging, courage, morality, faith, empowerment through knowledge, ambition, treachery, war, love and romance. Book 1 Rosemary for Remembrance (and now retitled Blood Oath) was on the 2006 CBCA Notable Book List. Book 3 Lilies for Love (now retitled Unholy Murder) won the Society of Women Writers biennial book of the year in the YA category, and Book 4 Willows for Weeping (now retitled Pilgrim of Death) was Highly Commended two years later. The Janna Chronicles have been retitled and republished by Pan Macmillan Australia: look out for Blood Oath (#1), Stolen Child (#2), Unholy Murder (#3), Pilgrim of Death (#4), Devils Brew (#5), Day of Judgment (#6).

A Ring Through Time (Harper Collins Australia)  Time-slip historical fiction with a dash of romance, giving insight into the dark and brutal days of the Second Penal Settlement on Norfolk Island and a love affair between a convict and the commandant’s daughter. A hidden diary reveals what really happened all those years ago – but unravelling the family mystery will jeopardise the attraction growing between the descendants of that time so long ago, with disastrous consequences for the future.

Adults

My talks, based around ‘An Author’s Journey’ contain elements from my talks above but also include two other novels: I, Morgana and its sequel, The Once and Future Camelot: two time-slip stories with their genesis in Arthurian legend but that also explore medieval time during the reign of Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the poet Marie de France..

For bookings please see the information above.