When I was a student, my English literature lecturer suggested we all skip one week of university and go and sit at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival. It’s one of the best in the world. So, I did. I went and sat there in the Australian heat at this beautiful literary festival set in huge tents on wide lawns and listened to writers from all over the world. That was when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Wrapping my life around books and storytelling is an honour. It’s a wonderful thing.

Secret Shores

Secret Shores

I have always written stories. I still have one of the first books that I ever wrote. It is called Frederica the Fanciful Frog. The illustrations are lovingly rendered in faded felt pen and the pages are fastened with staplers. The story is written in neat, upright pencil.

I discovered green tea by accident. It was given to me at a restaurant once instead of chamomile tea after dinner. Now, I think green tea with jasmine is one of the most delicate and charming things on this earth.

I went overseas for the first time when I was eighteen. I went to Paris and will never forget my first sight of the Champs Elysees all lit up. Back then, I vowed to see every inch of the world. My books are all inspired by my travels. I would travel all the time if I could.

When I went to Scotland, I felt like I was home. I have strong Scottish ancestry going back for many, many generations. Even though I was born and live in Australia, the bagpipes get to me every time. My grandfather was a Gordon Highlander and I have this gorgeous photograph of him with his eyes lit up in a lovely smile.

I learned French from a very young age. Later I wrote three novels set in Paris. I went back and studied French again as an adult and feel very at home there when I go- it is such a relief, somehow, to be able to sit down and have a long lunch at a table set under the vines, and not feel guilty. Not feel you should be doing something else.

My parents took me to the RSPCA to get my first dog when I was three, and everyone tells me I chose the ugliest one there, but I loved her. I called her Julie. She was a mixture of all the very best sorts of dogs there are. Ever since then, I’ve always adored dogs, and I can’t imagine life without them.

I used to ride horses every weekend. It was that sense of freedom that I found, again, riding. I think that’s it. Finding something that makes you feel free.

I know the lyrics to every eighties’ song. Yes, every song. Trust me. I won an entire quiz night by singing one from beginning to end. I’m not going to tell you which song it was!

On the subject of music, I have a music degree in classical piano. One day, I want to go and do art classes again. Next year, when the world is in a better place, I’ve promised myself I’ll take up painting again.

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Nor have I ever proposed to someone on the London Eye, or anywhere for that matter. However, some parts of The Flip Side are inspired by my real life. I think it's common for authors - especially in their debut novel - to mine their lives for anecdotes. After all, they say write what you know... to read more click HERE