is me, aged 2. I don't know why I'm
standing on a chair. I grew up in
Middlesbrough in the north east of England and I enjoyed writing as a
child. But did I always want to
be a professional writer?
not really. The only thing I knew as I grew up was that I didn't want
to be a scientist or an engineer. Not because I hated maths and
science - I loved them - but because everyone always said that I would
be the one in our family to follow my dad into industry. Which is
enough to put any child off.
I went through school and thought about studying something like law and
it finally came to choosing a subject at university I opted for...
chemical engineering. And following my dad into industry. Well, you
can't always fight the
||So, I'm an engineer - how boring
at all, I promise you. I worked in the oil industry for about 9 years
loved (almost) every minute of it.
I got to do things like work on a North Sea oil rig and wear
particularly fetching orange overalls
and climb to the top of the flare stack to inspect it
(when it wasn't burning, I hasten to add).
Later, I was posted briefly to Houston,
And then Anchorage, Alaska, which was very cold and stunningly
full of incredible things to do. Like...
Of course, I did do some work while I was
gave up my full-time job when my first daughter was born, but my
husband is still
oil industry and through his job we moved...
||... and then
Perth's sunshine has
won me over and we are now settled here for good. At least for
now. (Who knows what the future may bring?)
So, when did the engineer turn into a writer?
During my time in Trinidad.
I had spent
several years looking after my two young daughters but by then they were
both at nursery/school so I had a little time to myself. And when
they were back at home, we often sat with a picture book or six and
read together. I felt the urge to have a go at
writing picture books myself - wouldn't it be amazing to be even a small part of inspiring other children with a love of books?
I wish I could just say, "and that was that". But, of course, writing
is the easy part; writing something good enough to be noticed and published isn't easy at all!
I was very encouraged in the first year of my writing 'career' to be
shortlisted for the Little Tiger Press 'Search for a Story' competition
for new authors. Nevertheless, it took a few more years of writing,
and ignoring rejection letters (lots of them!) before I finally signed my first
My aim now? To write books that children and parents love to read over and over and over again!
a Picture Book
'If you want to laugh with a child, have fun with them, have intimate,
witty exchanges... curl up with a picture book.'
'If you want to enrich a child's vocabulary and help them to enjoy the
sheer pleasure of language... read a picture book.'
'If you want to have amazing conversations with a child, take
incredible flights of fancy, invent weird and wonderful concepts...
open a picture book.'