Tell me what inspired you to write for children?
As a child, I loved books. The wonderment, the characters I met, the places I travelled to. I have beautiful, fond memories of books and the magic of stories from my childhood. As I writer, I’ve always wanted to create books that provide that same wonderment for children.

How hard was it to get your first book published?
Getting anything published is never easy and children’s books is such a competitive market, so I was encouraged when I pitched the book to a well-known, commercial publisher in Australia and they subsequently asked me to send the whole manuscript to them. Even though they turned it down, they really encouraged me to keep sending Scoop out. A few months later New Frontier Publishing picked it up. Motto: keep going, even after rejection, never give up!

How long did it take to write?
It took about five months to write. That’s solid, spend-your-entire-weekend-writing, writing.

How many publishers turned you down?
I was turned down by six publishers.

What kind of reactions have you had to this book?
It’s been amazing. As a debut children’s author, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m thrilled with the reaction to Scoop. I had a lady contact me on Instagram just recently to tell me that her eldest picked up Scoop, not knowing anything about the book, and can’t put it down. That’s music to an author’s ear. During author visits to school, the children have been so engaged, so interested in Scoop, and ask question after question, which I love. The reviews (so far!) have also all been extremely positive.

What can you tell us about your next book?
In book 2, Scoop and Evie are back to their mystery-solving best, and there are LOTS of twists and turns to this particular tale. It will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Do you try and read the online reviews you get on say Waterstones website?
I definitely do. It’s good for me to get that feedback from readers.

Would you ever consider writing for teens or adults?
I actually wrote a young adult novel years ago which subsequently got turned into a short film. Young adult is something that I’d like to continue to explore in the future. I’ve also written a contemporary novel for adults, but haven’t started editing it as yet. Scoop is absolutely my priority at the moment, but I’ll get back to that contemporary novel someday.

What did you do before becoming a writer? Or indeed still do?
I’m a newspaper journalist, just like Scoop!

Which author inspires you?
I love Roald Dahl. Such a brilliant writer who took his readers on so many incredible adventures. I’ve also dabbled in screenwriting, and writer John Hughes really inspired me as a teenager. I remember watching The Breakfast Club when I was about 15 and thinking, “that’s what I want to do – tell stories that reach people”. If I could put “storyteller” on my tax return as my occupation, I would.

Which genres do you read yourself?
I love fantasy. As a journalist, I get enough of real life in real life, every day. I also love the classics.

What is your biggest motivator?
An unwavering desire to contribute something positive to this world.

What will always distract you?
I’m not easily distracted but if it’s a glorious, sunny day outside, it wouldn’t take much for me to think, “I should really get out into the sun for ten minutes”.

How much say do you have in your book covers?
My opinion is taken on board from rough draft to final cover. I am absolutely in awe of our illustrator, Beatriz Castro, and designer, Rachel Lawston, and I’ve absolutely loved everything they’ve done so far.

As a child were you a great reader?
I was, I loved it. At the end of the school year, the teachers would give out book prizes and I would be absolutely dying to win one! I still have my copy of The Wind in the Willows which I won in about year 4.

Which book shop is your favourite?
I love all book shops! I don’t have a particular favourite. They are all special places.

What can you not resist buying?
I love biographies and autobiographies of people I admire. I have quite a collection of those.

Do you have any rituals on your writing days?
I have to start with a hot cup of tea or coffee by my side. I also like writing with my laptop on my comfy lounge as opposed to my office, although that’s not a ritual. Perhaps the creativity flows better when I’m in a more relaxed atmosphere?

How many books in your own to be read pile?
Oh, lots! I’ve got three beside my bed and many more in my bookcase!

What is your current read?
I’m actually reading a classic – Anne of Green Gables. A very dear friend gave it to me as a gift.


Note: A review for book 1 can be found HERE

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