Photo by Julian Rutt

Photo by Julian Rutt

I grew up in more than one place – England first, and then a couple of cities in Australia. In Adelaide, where I live now, I went to an unconventional high school, where we called the teachers by their first names, toured plays we wrote ourselves, and went on three school camps every year. Then, for my final year, I went to the kind of girls’ college where prefects tell you off for not wearing your blazer or having socks the wrong length. It was like going to another country, and so it’s probably no surprise that my stories are often about people finding out how the world looks to someone else, or if they stand in another place.

I’ve wanted to write since I was very young (although back then, in the 1980s, I probably said I wanted to be an ‘authoress’). My room was always littered with bits of paper and there were usually half a dozen half-read books lying in and around my bed. I am still a person of many bookmarks.

By the time I grew up, I’d got it into my head that writing wasn’t something I could do as an Actual Job, so I spent quite a number of years trying my hand at other things, and travelling around the world. What I didn’t know was that reading all those books was the best writer training around, and that trying new things and seeing new places and meeting all sorts of people was the ultimate way to gather ideas for characters and stories.

After a decade or so I stayed still long enough to get married, have two sons, and go to university, where I learnt all sorts of other useful, fascinating and necessary things about reading and writing.

I’ve also learnt that the path to where you’re going can be circuitous.