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I never realised how second nature texting was for young people until my daughter, who sometimes sleepwalks, sent me a text msg completely written in her sleep on Christmas Eve at 2.15am. This is what it said: Merry Christmas! Im out right now. i have the dog i will bring her home. X It sounds […]
As an ambassador for the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge, it was great to meet with the winning schools last Friday in the National Gallery’s Great Hall. So many enthusiastic readers! Make sure you meet the challenge in your state next year. Good luck!
A book’s title is very important so I always take great care with my own novels. It’s one of the big decisions I have to make when writing. The ‘working title’ is the title you use when you’re not completely sure what you are going to call your book and you are still working on […]
I have just received first pages for my new Aussie Bite, The Lion Drummer. It’s always exciting getting these from the publisher because for the first time you see your manuscript looking like the real thing. Before a book is published there are three sets of pages – first pages, second pages and third pages. […]
When you live in a city for as long as I have, you become so used to it, you are incapable of seeing it – I mean REALLY seeing it – anymore. For a writer, this is a terrible thing. The best cure then is to go away for a while – six months at […]
The following news item presents an interesting dilemma A donkey in an Algerian market ate the money of the man who came to buy him. When the buyer and the seller were bargaining the price of the donkey, they didn’t see it eating the stack of bank notes meant as its payment. So who now […]
As you can see, Peng from The Hidden Monastery now welcomes you into my website. You might notice also that I have added a Spanish page. This is because I receive emails from children in South America who have read The Garden of Empress Cassia (translated into Spanish of course). This page includes a biography […]
I just received an advanced copy of When We Were Young. This is a book of short stories and cartoons by authors such as Leigh Hobbs, Sonya Hartnett, Ursula Duborsarsky, David Metzenthen, Paul Jennings and many many more including myself. All the stories are true and about something that happened in our childhood. The story […]
I had a wonderful time visiting schools in the Cairns area in Northern Queensland. I drove along roads lined with fields of sugar cane, their grainy heads waving to passersby. Clouds of white smoke billowed from the cane mills in the distance. The first school I visited was Babinda, a tiny school set in amongst […]

Cairns

Jul 22: Booktalk
I’m off to Cairns tomorrow to visit schools in the area and to hold writing workshops in the Cairns Library. I’m really looking forward to meeting the students at Babinda, Gordonvale, Caravonica, Trinity Beach, Yorkey’s knob (such a fantastic name for a school) and White Rock. I love this area of Australia and it is […]
Have you ever been thinking of someone, then hey presto they ring you? Or every time you look at a digital clock the time is exactly 11.11 or 1.11 or 2.22 or 3.33 or 4.44 or 5.55, and often all within one day? Is it mental telepathy, tapping into another dimension, gremlins playing with your […]
I have just received word that The Garden of Empress Cassia will be published in Korea. It has already been published in England and Spain. Each of the covers for these two editions have been different to the Australian version so it will be interesting to see what Korea does with the book. At the […]
It is those who have compassion for all life who will best safeguard the life of man. Those who become aroused only when man is endangered become aroused too late. – Edwin Way Teale, naturalist
When I first went to live in Taiwan to study Chinese, I met a local girl called Peggy. She was around the same age, about twenty-two, with a wide, generous smile. I liked her very much. One day, her parents invited me home for dinner. It was her birthday. I spent the whole day looking […]
In some countries, animals are used to predict earthquakes. In south central China, there is a 24 hour watch on snakes in farms. If the snakes begin making desperate attempts to escape, the observers notify the government.
The first draft of my latest novel, A Ghost in My Suitcase is almost complete. Only one more chapter to go. I’ll work on that today. The next stage is refining, editing, chopping, making sentences sound more beautiful. This is the stage I like the most. My secondary character, Ting Ting, who I just recently […]
Some highlights of my Christmas day were, -watching my 82 year old mum boxing the daylights out of her opponent on Wii, -receiving Shaun Tan’s beautiful illustrated book, The Arrival, from my pets, -listening to Eva Cassidy’s music, her CD IMAGINE, a gift from my children, -a Kris Kringle present – a donation to TEARAustralia […]
When I write my stories, I see complete scenes in my mind just as if I’m watching a movie. As far back as I can remember I have been able to see whole pictures and always thought that everyone had the same ability or at least could visualise very easily. Training your mind to visualise […]
It’s early morning.The magpies are warbling but it’s still dark outside. I was kept awake by ideas for stories so I had to get up to write them down. Night time seems to feed my mind with thoughts. Maybe it’s because everyone’s dreams have escaped and are flying around free. Maybe that’s what dreams are […]
I have just come back from China researching a sequel to The Hidden Monastery. I was in the far west in Yunnan province 3,700 meters above sea level in a town that has been renamed Shangrila. Even climbing up steps was hard work because oxygen at that height is limited. When you suffer from altitude […]