New Beginnings

I have always wanted to be a writer. I have always written. I wasn’t much of a diary writer, but I loved to get hold of a blank notebook and write—in my bedroom, under a tree, on a bench in a park, or in the car—happy to spend time by myself as I watched the world drift by.

English wasn’t my best subject at school, as the teachers that I can remember, either told me to expand my horizons beyond the horse and pony books I read by the dozen (the Pullein-Thompson sisters rocked my world into my young teenage years) or to not be so ‘creative’ in my written stories! While I continued writing, it was for myself, and the only evidence was the growing collection of notebooks under my bed.

Fast forward several decades to one dark, wintery night coming home on a bus from work in September 2017, and for some reason ‘you should be a writer’ popped into my head. I don’t know where the thought came from, but I reached for my phone and typed in something like ‘how to write a novel’ into Google. The first page I came across was a reference to a blog post from Joanna Penn‘s website for authors. I read the post and jumped to several others linked within, and by the time I got home two hours later, I was sure of the next chapter in my life.

Six weeks later, I chanced upon an opportunity to work with an established author and what I thought was going to be my first book, Planet, and the start of this journey. It sounded so easy, but the last four years have been difficult. Has there been some procrastination? Of course! However, there has also been a cancer diagnosis and the whirlwind of emotions that impact one’s mental health, plus the other family, life, and global events that vie for attention. I have additional drivers now that push me to get books written.

At a writer’s retreat just after Christmas 2019, I suggested to a friend/mentor that ‘Christmas Crackers’ would be an excellent concept for a Christmas-themed, cozy mystery anthology. They invited me to be part of an idea that grew legs and became a reality. We published in October 2020, with Planet pushed into the background. From my perspective at least, we had wonderful success with the anthology. We hit number 1 in our categories across countries and stores. The anthology was time-limited, and the other authors have released their contributions in some shape or form. Mine sits on the computer, so it is too late for you to read it now. 

How do I feel about this? I have now retired from my academic day job, but I still love to learn. While I cannot list everything I have learnt over the last few years, and especially over the last twelve months, about the craft of writing, I am still learning every day. I am feeling more comfortable in the words I get down on a page, but now I have to learn about cover design, advertising campaigns, and so many things I can’t even remember them.

But it is a great ride. I spend many of my days on the computer. I started a new historical cozy mystery earlier in 2020 when little Jimmy wouldn’t leave me alone, and then family issues took precedence over the following few months. I can’t wait to get back to Scarlet and Rory and finish their adventure on Planet, but as you will have seen here on the site, I have been busy with Familiar Unspelled for another anthology. By June, I hope to have the second book in the series available for preorder and an August delivery.

I have often thought of these past four years as a rollercoaster. Now I think I was on the toddler version that was more of a happy caterpillar navigating bumps in the grass. I am about to step onto the adult version—the Mad Mouse version—that was at the Royal Show in Adelaide way back last century.

I look forward to meeting you, if only here on a page, and in sharing my journey with you now that I have clear goals in mind.

Wishing you lots of great reads to brighten your days and nights and, of course, a furry or hairy companion beside you.


P.S. The accompanying photo is of my rescue dog, Maya, who inspires Maisie in the Cockatoo Bay series. As you can see, she is a little orange dog and one parent was a corgi, I’m sure.