I was born a small town in N.S.W. Australia, to English parents, Ken and Betty. I am the youngest of
As a child I loved reading and listening to music, my favourite being ABBA, though I grew up liking a
great variety of music. My brother Michael and I listened to all types of music, mainly driving in his car with the stereo blasting. One minute we would have country singer, Kenny Rogers on, then the next it would be rock, like AC-DC or Meatloaf. That variety of music stays with me and my cd collection is of a wide range in type.
I have a wide variety of interests.
I enjoy reading and gardening.
I am interested in genealogy, I love chocolate. (who doesn't?)
I love cooking, surfing the web and emailing friends.
Some Questions & Answers:
How are your story ideas born?
My story ideas are born from all sorts of sources. Usually when I’m doing something mundane, like
ironing or washing the floor, etc, and ideas will come into my head then. Sometimes they might come from
researching. I might be flipping through my research books and I’ll see something interesting that leads
to ideas for a story.
How many works in progress do you have?
At the moment I’m just starting a new historical women’s novel set in Victorian Yorkshire again. It’s my
favourite time and place. I feel comfortable writing it. This will be book number 14.
I recently finished the first draft of another story.
What is your writing process?
I simply open a blank page and allow the story idea to flow. I like to write when it is quiet, the house is
peaceful and everyone is out. I try to write between 9am and 3pm. After that it’s dinner and family time.
I work weekends, which leaves me free to write during the week. I prefer writing in the morning, and can
count on one hand how many times I’ve written at night. But I do need coffee to keep me going and if
What writing mechanic challenges you?
Probably grammar. I suck at it!
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I love names, and the old names of history can be so elegant. In The House of Women I had fun naming
the seven daughters. Grace has always been a favourite, and my daughter is called Eleanor Grace. I do
spend time on choosing the names, making sure they fit the character. I don’t like modern names being
used in historical. I use my family tree information as an excellent source of period names.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The beginning. I love writing the first three chapters, weaving everyone in and getting to know them.
What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?
The least part I like is editing when the book is finished and I have ideas for a new story that are begging
to get out. Once a book is written Im eager to start something new, but I know editing is important!
How long does it take to write your novels?
My novels, especially my historical novels usually take about 6 months to write. Sometimes it depends on
what is happening in my life at the time. I try to make 6 months as my goal. But it doesn’t always happen.
Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?
Most of Audrey Howard’s books leave a lasting impression on me. I love her books. The heroine usually
goes through hell before the happy ever after ending. Catherine Cookson’s Tilly Trotter series and also,
The Dwelling Place as firm favourites, too.
Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished
Advice can be tricky, because so much depends on the writer and what they write, but first I would say,
never give up! This is a hard and at times very frustrating business, be prepared to wait for results.
Learn everything you can about it.
Talk to other writers, join writing groups and especially try and find a good critique group, who will help
you polish your manuscript before you send it out. Research agents. Research publishers.
Do you find time to have interests other than writing?
Not many! I do enjoy researching family history, but aside from that most of my time is spent with
family and working part time.
Some of My favourite authors are;
and a host of others...
Some of My Favourite movies:
North and South (UK BBC)
North and South (American civil war)
Pride & Predjudice. (BBC, Adaptation)
Anne Of Green Gables.
ANZACS (Australian War Series)
Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson)
Sweet Home Alabama