The back matter for On Jacaranda Street has an extensive interview with me. Nothing better than interviewing yourself, haha! I talk about the themes in Ashgrove Park and On Jacaranda Street, which characters have more than a hint of real-life to them, what house in Sydney Currawongs' Crossing (the mansion in On Jacaranda Street) is based on, why Ashgrove Park is set in East Sussex, and so on.
For this post, I thought I would ask myself more questions. I love reading about authors and what they do outside of writing. So. . .
When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
I have two passions: reading and photography. Because I write for an online history encyclopaedia, I read a ton of non-fiction. Mainly, this is to do with exploration and navigation of Oceania, but I've written articles on the history of Portugal, Thailand and Svalbard (check under My Writing for links to some of my articles). The multiverse, time travel and technology of the future are great interests, so you'll find me reading on these topics, too.
My dad was a keen photographer and he gave me my first camera when I was 10, I think. I have a number of plastic-fantastic cameras from the 1960s (including my beloved Diana F+) and dabble in lomography.
What genres do you read? What genres don't you read?
I'll start with what I don't read: romance, erotica, bully romances, billionaire romances, reverse harem, dark academia, chick lit, fantasy.
That leaves me reading: gothic fiction, ghost fiction, historical fiction, dystopian, climate fiction, science fiction, magical realism, crimes, mysteries, thrillers.
Do you speak other languages?
I learnt Indonesian for five years in high school and spoke it reasonably well. I'm now brushing up on DuoLingo and could probably order a coffee and cake in a cafe in Bali.
At uni, I studied Russian because I have Russian ancestors on my mum's side. Can't utter too many words these days, though.
Where were you born? Where do you live?
I'm Australian, born in Sydney. Went to school there and worked for many years in various roles before moving to New Zealand in 2010. My parents were born in Wellington, and I've always had an affinity for New Zealand. I live in the Bay of Islands.
If you weren't living where you are now, where would you live and why?
Tough one. I adore Italy and was lucky enough to work in Rome in 2011-2012. I also love Thailand and have been there many times for work and holidays. I think living in Iceland or Finland would be amazing (I'm a great fan of cold weather), but could also see myself living in Indonesia and Portugal. My hubby is Portuguese.
Do you only write novels?
My first love is poetry. I wrote terrible poetry as a teenager and didn't show a living soul my poems. I've published a poetry collection and plan to write another collection later in 2022.
If I could nominate my favourite poem - it would be When You are Old by Yeats and read by Irish actor Colin Farrell. A deceptively simple poem and hauntingly beautiful.
Do you have any degrees?
I have a B.A. (Hons) in History and my thesis was on the Black Panther Party. I also have a Masters in Complexity Science (yes, really).
Do you write in American or Australian English?
American. And it can be hard work. Different spelling. Different punctuation (for example, Australians don't really use the Oxford or serial comma). Because my editing job sees me mainly editing Canadian and American authors, I can switch over the brain to American English. But I think I'll use Australian English for my next novel, which is set in Sydney.
How do you promote your books?
I'm not good at this. I'm not a great fan of social media. I hardly use Facebook. Although I've been on Twitter since 2008 and used to tweet like a mad thing, I don't use it as regularly now. I've never used Snapchat. I like Instagram because it allows me to dabble in photos, and I joined TikTok in early 2022 to see what all the fuss was about. Quite like it.
I get fatigued by all the posts I see from authors pushing their books, asking for reviews, blah blah. I don't do it because I'd prefer to spend my time reading and writing. I'm amazed at the skill of some content creators with their YouTube and TikTok videos.
So, the likelihood of me being a bestselling author is remote LOL.