I write novels and plays where I try to rethink history in a particularly personal way.
I write widely about periods and places that fascinate me, yet always with a purpose in mind.
I write about people that history overlooks, be it because of their gender, their age, their class, or some other reason they have no control over. I write about people who are sidelined by those who wield power, doomed to live in the wings, watching on patiently until those in the spotlight unexpectedly miss their cues.
In all of my stories, a life-changing moment comes when the person in the shadows sees their chance to step forward into the light, in order to make history their own...
I live with my partner and pets in the historic town of Castlemaine, in the heart of the beautiful Goldfields region of Victoria, Australia. Originally from Western Australia, where I often return, I grew up in the Perth Hills where I attended Eastern Hills Senior High School and Curtin University in the 1980s. I moved to Melbourne to pursue writing opportunities in 1988 and have lived in Victoria since.
To my unending delight, my novels have achieved international publishing success. Den of Wolves, set in Ancient Rome, was first published in Australia and New Zealand in 2008, before being translated into various international editions. Its sequel, Nest of Vipers, was released in Australia and New Zealand in 2010, with non-English language editions following in 2011.
The Secret Heiress, a mystery set in late-19th Century Australia, was published in Australia and New Zealand in April 2016, with a second edition released in January 2017. A Russian edition was published in September of that year, followed by an audiobook through Bolinda in November.
My newest novel, The Heart of the Ritz, will be appearing on shelves in September 2019. Set in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, when women and teenagers formed the backbone of the French Resistance, it will be released simultaneously in paperback, e-book and audiobook.
Before writing novels, I wrote for television. From 2001 to the end of 2007 I held key creative roles including Script Producer, Story Editor and Supervising Script Editor on the long-running Australian drama series Neighbours. I oversaw 1,500 episode scripts for the internationally broadcast serial, working with a passionate team in creating much loved characters and long-running storylines. It's where I learned so much about writing addictive stories. I represented Neighbours at the UK National Television Awards in London and spoke about its ongoing success at drama industry conferences in Cologne and Amsterdam. I also appeared in a series of behind-the-scenes programs about the show made for BBC 3.
Before joining Neighbours, I was Script Executive on Something in the Air, and as Assistant Commissioning Editor for Drama with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, I worked in the writing and development of SeaChange, RAW FM, and other prime-time television series. I have also written for Home & Away and was Script Editor on the teen fantasy series Nowhere Boys.
I am also a playwright. From the late-80s to the mid-90s I formed collaborations with theatre practitioners including directors Julian Meyrick and Ariette Taylor, performers Louise Fox and Paul Capsis, designer Louise McCarthy and composer Anthony Crowley. My first plays were staged by Kickhouse Theatre for the Melbourne Fringe Festival (St Rose of Lima; Grace Among the Christians; Fun & Games with the Oresteia). St Rose of Lima was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best New Australian Play. Fun & Games with the Oresteia won the ABC Radio National Pick of the Fringe Award.
Other productions of my original or co-written works were produced by the Melbourne International Festival (Sabat Jesus), Playbox Theatre and the Adelaide Festival (Disturbing the Dust), the Sydney Festival (St Rose of Lima), St Martins Youth Arts Centre (Vincent: an Acapella Opera), and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (The Villain of Flowers). In 2010 I co-adapted (with Louise Fox) Dario Fo’s Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman for Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre. This adaptation was also staged by the Queensland Theatre Company in 2012.
I was a student of Curtin University’s creative writing stream in the mid-80s, studying fiction under renowned novelists Elizabeth Jolley and Tim Winton. In 2008 I appeared in an ABC TV documentary, IOU Elizabeth Jolley, where I spoke about my creative debt to the late author. I am now a lecturer myself, having taught creative writing subjects for the Australian Film Television & Radio School, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Monash University and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts. Since 2013 I have lectured and coordinated 1st Year undergraduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts Screenwriting degree at the University of Melbourne's Victorian College of the Arts - a job I love. In 2017, along with my screenwriting colleagues, I was a recipient of the Australian Federal Government's University Teaching Award.
When I'm not writing or lecturing, I spend my time gardening, reading, travelling, cooking, watching, talking and listening.
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