Goldie Alexander became a professional writer after 25 years of teaching English and History in secondary schools.

She was  commissioned to write 4 YA novels for the ‘Dolly’ imprint, dealing with contemporary issues that were important to teenage girls eg body image, education, acceptance by one’s peers etc etc.

I asked Goldie, “What do you enjoy most about being a writer?”

Being forced to use my imagination when I create interesting characters and then the plotting. There’s the sheer happiness of working as hard and long as I feel like without having a boss breathing over my shoulder. The downside is far less money.

What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Finding an appropriate publisher for a particular book and then marketing that book.

What is your greatest writing achievement?

Others would say it’s my historical account of the First Fleet ‘My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove” which is now in its 10th edition with a brand new cover. I think that still having passion for my craft and still being published after so many years rates as my major achievement.


Persistence is everything. Be aware that writing is one part inspiration and 99% perspiration. Edit! Edit! Edit!


Hedgeburners: An A~Z PI Mystery was inspired by Goldie’s love as a child of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’.

I decided it was time to write a contemporary version. I had already published 2 adult mysteries UNJUST DESSERTS and UNKIND CUT so I had a fair idea of how to go about it.

Hedgeburners: An A~Z PI Mystery was loosely based on a series of actual crimes committed in the recent past, this suspense-filled detective book with a difference poses the question:  Who is setting fire to the old cypress hedges? Anna Simpson insists that her best friend Zach Santisi help her find the culprits. Just about everyone these 13yo detectives come across has a motive, and as time goes on there are more and more fires and more serious confrontations.

Hedgeburners: An A~Z PI Mystery is a humorous story exploring hobbies that kids enjoy eg Zach who tells the story is mad about animals. He keeps cats, dogs, gold fish, breeds budgies and chooks and never gets around to completing his homework.


Zach and Anna are best friends, but it is Anna who wants to find the arsonist and she forces Zach to help her.  They are joined by Ruby who wants to be a famous wrestler, Brett, a nerdy journalist and of course M, Zach’s rat. Each helps bring the criminals to justice.

Goldie’s says that the thing she enjoyed most about writing this book was creating the characters.

I loved my characters. Because there are five I could makes them quite disparate and have them reflect lots about kids I know and meet.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

Finding an interesting crime that didn’t involve murder or anything I considered unsuitable for young readers. Then making the whodunnit not emerge until the very end. I had to use lots of red herrings.

You can find out more about Goldie at her website Teachers Notes for all her books can also be found here.

Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.