Bookings are now open for my three 2020 residential writing retreats, co-tutored with RNA Chair Alison May. Details can be found here.
I grew up surrounded by books. Both my parents loved to read and they shared that love with me. In the tiny Australian bush town where we lived, there wasn’t a lot to do except read and ride my ponies.
As it’s pretty hard to make a living out of riding ponies, I guess I was always going to be a writer.
After some fun-filled years at Queensland University (during which I passed the occasional exam), I became a television journalist, first in Australia, then in Asia and Europe. I got to see and do a lot of unusual things. I met some interesting people, including one Pope, at least three Prime Ministers, a few movie stars and a dolphin.
I also discovered that most interesting people are often the ‘ordinary’ people – who sometimes have quite extraordinary stories to tell.
My first published fiction, a short story called The Last Dragon, appeared in 2002. I love writing short stories and you can check some of them out for free on the site.
My first novel, written when I was about 11 years old, involved a young girl (me) being rescued from kidnappers by two handsome men – one of whom was former James Bond Roger Moore.
My first published novel, The Farmer Needs A Wife was released in 2009. It might not surprise you to learn that it was set in Australia and featured men on horses.
Australia, horses and men still feature in my writing – although I have written one book without horses in it. There were penguins instead.
Alison and I also write together under the name Juliet Bell. Our first joint novel, The Heights, is a modern adaptation of the classic story by Emily Brontë. It’s set in Yorkshire, against the backdrop of the miners’ strike and the decline of a once proud pit community. There will be more Juliet Bell books to come.
I travel a lot – and many years ago in Hong Kong, I met an Englishman with green eyes – which explains why I now live in London. My travels inspire me – but it seems that when I write, I often come back to the place I grew up.
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