I’ve been married to an ex-nuclear physicist – don’t ask! for the last 21 years and we have two sons, the eldest of whom starts high school next year. We live in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, in a beautiful lush valley full of apple, pear and cherry orchards. We moved here a few years ago, escaping from the city and it’s just gorgeous. The property is small, only five acres, but we have room for two soccer mad boys, two dogs, a cat and several woolly things masquerading a environmentally friendly lawnmowers. Before that we lived in Melbourne, which was fun, but we always wanted to live in the country and now we do.
Most of our friends think we have far too many animals, and everyone knows we have far too many books.
I grew up moving around a fair bit. Dad was in the army and every few years we had to up sticks and move on. I was born in England, expelled from kindergarten in Melbourne, started school in Papua New Guinea and finished school in Melbourne. After taking a degree in Music Education I taught music for several years while my husband finished his Ph.D.
How I started writing
I had the writing bug from a very early age. From the time I could read I loved writing stories. Throughout my school days I was nearly always writing something very quietly, and there were several teachers who encouraged me. One student teacher, whose name I have totally forgotten, when I was in sixth grade, as well as a couple of high school English teachers, Mrs Redman and Mrs Mackay.
I started writing my first book after I finished my Masters degree. For one thing I really, really missed my thesis. I’d enjoyed researching it, and I loved writing it. So it seems inevitable now that when I was looking for something to do in the evenings to unwind after work, I started writing again.
I’d been staying with an old school friend. Meg is a fellow Georgette Heyer fan, and she had a very large collection of Regencies on her bookshelves. Well, that was an eye-opener. I’d had no idea anyone else apart from Heyer had actually written them. By the time I went home I had an idea floating around in my brain and I sat down and roughed out some sort of chapter plan. Then I started typing. Six months later I had a story with a beginning a middle and an end which I sent to Meg. After a great deal of talking, she persuaded me to send it off to Harlequin Mills & Boon. After doing the rounds of all three editorial offices and undergoing a major rewrite and extension while I was about seven months pregnant with the second small noisy boy, it was accepted for publication and published as The Unexpected Bride.
Most of my writing friends have threatened to lynch me over that story at one time or another. Personally I envy them for having learnt an enormous amount about writing and the industry before acquiring an editor who understandably expects you to know what you are doing.