Tell us about your latest creation:
It’s Anya Crichton’s latest adventure. This time she’s in Tasmania, visiting her increasingly erratic GP mother. Anya becomes involved in the death of a young girl and a fatal outbreak of food poisoning. Evidence of the source points to an organic farm, facing ruin. However, delving deeper, Anya discovers a world of corporate corruption, genetically modified foods, a murdered scientist and buried scientific research. Meanwhile, Anya questions her mother’s sanity. Then the stakes turn deadly…
Where are you from / where do you call home?:
Suburban Sydney, the part most people forget exists. I’ve lived here for about twenty years now.
No. From the age of five I wanted to become a doctor and cure autism. I knew if I studied medicine, I could write in the future. I didn’t cure autism, but the writing worked out.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
My children, definitely! In terms of books, I think Fatal Impact is my best and most ambitious story. Hopefully, an author learns and improves her craft with each book!
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I like order and peace, so I spend mornings writing at a quiet café without internet distraction. The staff is fantastic and know me pretty well after four books there. After that, I head to my home office and catch up on emails/speaking/plan workshops before another session of writing in the afternoon. I love order, but often the desk is messier than I’d like.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
Newspapers, blogs, biographies, and at the moment there are so many good YA books around, as well as crime. Anything but unsolved mysteries.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
I must have reread Pollyanna dozens of times because of the mix of characters. In high school, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood made me question whether or not evil actually existed. Loved Othello and learnt what I did not like – Sons and Lovers, for example! I also devoured everything I could on Helen Keller in a quest to better understand how a blind, deaf woman learnt to communicate and inspire the world.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Probably Pollyanna. It sounds trite, but I have so much to be grateful for. After seeing so much death and tragedy in medicine, suspect I suffered before my art. It’s easier now to find the positive – or learning potential – in most situations. You learn not use catastrophic language for non-catastrophic events and it helps see the world differently.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
Scrapbooking, struggling to learn the harp and piano (not at the same time!) and watching Days of Our Lives. Yes, that’s my guilty vice.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Anything flavoured Chocolate and orange. That’s food and drink!
Who is your hero? Why?:
John Lasseter, head of Pixar studios. He is the Walt Disney of our generation and a brilliant story teller, crusader and humanitarian. Who else could have given us Toy Story films and Monsters Inc? Then there’s UP and the list goes on! He was fired from Disney because the old animators believed computer animation would ever take off. His story is now history.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
Keeping the public interested and aware of what’s new. Publishers need to adapt. Some were slow to accept ebooks, but they’re here to stay, and print books will never be completely replaced. I suspect on demand printing will become more common. Reading is living multiple lives in one lifetime, time travelling, relating to people from other worlds and cultures. As long as there are great stories, reading will thrive.
Charles Dickens serialised his books over a century ago, and the internet may mean authors do the same, leaching chapter by chapter in an insanely busy information age. Writers are already adapting with blogs and branding, so it will be interesting to see how books evolve.