I grew up in a small country town, climbing towering gum trees and reading my way through my family’s bookshelves before discovering a never-ending supply of novels at the local library. I found my feet in journalism, working at a rural newspaper before segueing into public relations and now fiction writing and blogging for Romance Writers Australia. Wildflower Ridge and Bottlebrush Creek both gather inspiration from my rural upbringing and the small communities I've always lived in and loved. 

Last three books I read: An advance copy of The End of Cuthbert Close by Cassie Hamer - a great read that had me nodding or laughing on every single page (out April 2020 with HQ). The Banksia Bay Beach Shack by Sandie Docker - a lovely seaside story that flashes between present day and the 1960s, with great mystery at the core. (Out March with Penguin). Revelations of a Secret Princess by Annie West - a sweet and enjoyable escape from reality by one of Australia's most prolific Mills and Boon authors (Out March with Harlequin).

 

Where I write: The upstairs sitting room in the house we built ourselves, overlooking our paddocks and the ocean.

 

My preferred drop: Jansz Champagne from Tasmania - it's my go-to celebration drink!

 

Guilty pleasure? Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I can demolish a box before my husband has gotten a look in.

 

Pet peeve: Creepy guys who follow my social media accounts and then send me even creepier messages. I block and report at least four spam followers a day. Ugh... 

 

Favourite fictional couple? Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables, Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton from the True Blood series, and Stephanie Plum and Morelli from Janet Evanovich's bounty hunter series.

 

Emerging authors to keep an eye out for: Jayne Kingsley,  Suzie Jay and Kaneana May, three of my favourite Romance Writers Australia gals.

 

Established authors who inspire me: Marian Keyes, Rachael Johns, Candice Fox, Janet Evanovich, Kerry Greenwood, Fleur McDonald.

 

Best thing about being a writer? Creating a cast of characters and immersing myself in their fictional world. 

 

Worst thing about being a writer? Lots of bum on seat time, not particularly compatible with my chocolate habit or my large garden, which is begging for more attention.

 

Music, podcasts or silence? My preference for writing in complete silence has evolved. Nowadays I'm writing with music (ABC Classic Radio) with the added soundtrack of the roaring ocean and local magpie symphony. I devour talking books and podcasts when I'm driving alone, and usually have music or child-friendly talking books when I'm driving with the children.

 

Favourite perfume: Oh, Lola! by Marc Jacobs.

 

The best prize I've ever won … My husband says I'm 'tinny' because I have a knack for winning things. My best wins were a trailer load of wood a few weeks after installing a woodfire, tickets to the Port Fairy Folk Festival, and the 'Face of Racing' competition for the Mount Gambier Racing Club, which included a holiday to Sydney and a massive supply of haircare products. I was also thrilled to win the 2005 National YouthWeek Writing Competition. I scored two holidays and a week of work experience at Girlfriend Magazine!

 

The theme I hope shines through in my writing: Rural living is wonderful; family is everything

 

Fun fact #1 My husband and I recently built our own house - bricks and all, chronicling our journey in the Owner Builder Magazine. The mammoth project took almost three years, and I consider myself a 'recovering' owner builder!

 

Fun fact #2 I didn't like country music until I lived in USA for a year and was introduced to modern country music. I loved it so much I went on to host a weekly radio program called 'Boots and All.'

 

Fun fact #3 My parents went halves in my first vehicle - a $400 250cc GN Suzuki motorbike. It was my only transport for about three years until I upgraded to a hot pink convertible Volkswagen beetle.

Photo: Ken Brass
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