I was born and raised in Perth but also spent several years of my childhood living in country towns. I found a passion for performance early at school scoring the lead role of Noah in the musical Oh Noah! It was a love of theatre that helped me survive the jungle of High School. I went on to study theatre and film and television at university including a year of study as a drama teacher. I also acquired an agent and became a professional actor for many years performing on TV, film and stage. At one time during my acting career I became Captain Starlight entertaining children at Princess Margaret Hospital and touring the country to visit special need schools to perform shows and entertain the children.
During Book Week I would tour schools performing characters from books and it was at this time I began to realize the potential quality literature had to enrich the lives of children and how a well written book with a great message could influence the minds of a generation and create change for the better… or just make them laugh and appreciate the colour and joy of life.
When my two children were born I discovered a world of magic and humour in children’s picture books and couldn’t get enough of them. I would go to the library (actually just about every library in driving distance) and come home with a tower of picture books to read to my kids. They were enthralled with the voices and crazy characters and I became addicted in finding new titles to read every night. It was during this time that I was inspired to put my voice on the page and I started to write Scarlet Hood often sitting quietly in a library soaking up the energy of that magic place surrounded by book and lovers of books.
I sent the manuscript off to many publishers but after six months waiting for a positive response I decided to go back to pencil and paper and write another book with a steely eyed determination to have a picture book published. This time it took only a few weeks for the lovely people at MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing in the US to offer me a contract but the real surprise came in the same week when I heard from a publisher in the UK, Salariya Books, that they would like to publish Scarlet Hood. I was to be a debut author of two children’s books!
Since then I have travelled to the US to go on a book tour for the release of Crazy Crab. I did book signings at the Baltimore Book Festival and signings in New York. I was the first Australian author to be invited to present my book on stage at the Orange County Children’s Book Fair which is the largest one day event of its kind in the US.
I also attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair which is the largest trade fair for children’s books in the world where I launched my second book Scarlet Hood. Both books have gone on to sell around the world including the US, UK, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Saudia Arabia, India, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan to name a few. Crazy Crab has gone on to win 12 international awards.
I have been invited to lead a panel discussion at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore this year and next year will see the release in the US of my third book Tang the Boastful Ape with MacLaren-Cochrane.
And this is just the start of my life as an international children’s author from down under. I hope to bring lots of wonderful stories into the lives of many millions of children for years to come. Call me a crazy crab but I aim to reach for the stars. Will you come along for the ride?