I grew up in the Barossa Valley, an area of South Australia predominantly settled by German immigrants. As a dark-haired, tanned little English girl (remember Britain was at one stage occupied by the Romans), I was very different and mercilessly teased. I remember the struggle to learn to read – painfully stringing three letter words together – there was Sam and Pam and a ball. Sometimes there was a fat cat on a mat or dog with a ball. Reading was a slow process until one birthday, I sat down with my gift, a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton. The mystery story was so exciting, I finished it in one session and I was a fast reader from that moment onwards. I loved Enid Blyton, her Wishing Chair stories, Magic Faraway Tree stories, fairy-land and toy-land stories as well as the mysteries.
A couple of years later, I discovered The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It was so amazing, I read it seven times in a row! Eventually, I discovered there was a whole series… I survived on this sort of fair until I was sixteen and read The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. That gave me a taste for adult fantasy. In search of more riveting reading, I discovered Stephen King and James Herbert. Stephen King’s Danse Macabre led me to H.P. Lovecraft, on whom I completed a Master’s project.
I learned to sew when I was ten and dressed myself throughout high-school and university in my own designs. I tried putting seams where seams traditionally did not go, or had not gone for a decade or two. I also put zippers in unusual places and added flounces and uneven hem lines. In the mid-1990’s fashions available in the stores began to catch up to me.
I enjoyed writing poetry and short stories, although was discouraged I had no early success in competitions. In 1988, I wrote my first full length manuscript, often scribbling on the train as I travelled from Newcastle to Sydney to attend post graduate study at university. In the year 2000, I brought my second full length manuscript into being and 2004 saw my third full length manuscript. None is published yet, but I still keep writing.
In the year 2001, I returned to another creative passion of mine, which was dance. I spent five years learning Ballroom dance and participating in dance school showcases. I also learned Belly-dance and had a go at most other types of folk dance. I spent a year with a performing group, the Matinee Entertainers, before moving onto coaching after school sports, circus and gymnastics. I never turned professional, but I loved fun and games and spreading the enjoyment amongst others. Always keen to find a dramatic outlet, I joined the production committee for a community Nativity performance and in 2010, a Nativity Play I wrote was produced by a local church.
I tutor English and have been doing so under my own ABN since 2007 – trying to create that “aha” moment when reading becomes pleasure instead of pain for children struggling to read and write. In 2016 I wrote an online course on “Poetry Appreciation and Analysis Skills” on Open Learning. The course can be found at: https://www.openlearning.com/courses/poetry-appreciation-and-analysis-skills