I still remember the smell of the crinkled pages. Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden. I lost myself in other worlds, solved mysteries and puzzled out secret codes.
My first story involved a magic carpet and some lost jewellery. The memory of what actually went on the page is hazy now, but I can still picture the world that came to life in my imagination. My Grade Six teacher set the class a creative writing task. I delivered to him a book.
Throughout high school my words were spent in love letters, emails and my stash of secret journals. I wrote passionately and regularly. I began to find my voice.
In Year 9 a new English teacher arrived and I was desperate to impress her. I handed in my efforts, quietly confident. Mrs Hirschfield handed it back with a ‘B’ and a lot of red pen. I was devastated. Over the next few years, she challenged me – never allowing me to settle, calling out my best work. I thrived on the experience and learned so much.
I’m still not quite sure why I decided to follow law as a career. I blithely wrote it down as my first preference, hardly thinking I would get the marks needed, but then somehow I did. I entered the wild world of university, landing in a pool of incredibly smart students and feeling very much out of my depth.
The next six years were a blur of assignments and exams, classes and case summaries. I met my husband, Dave, in my first year and we were married by the start of my third. Life became more about balancing priorities as I started my Traineeship year as a lawyer. Writing faded into the background.
It wasn’t until I had my second child at 27 that Dave encouraged me to consider starting a blog. ‘You love writing,’ he pointed out, ‘why not give it a go?’ It felt rusty and stiff at first, but the echo of something buried kept pulling me back. Week after week I wrote it all out, processing the tumultuous reality around me and discovering perspective along the way.
Looking back I can see the threads now – the buzz of excitement I felt when I got to draft an affidavit (or as I saw it – telling the client’s story), the way blogging allowed me to come back to myself after the earth-shattering shift in identity that is motherhood.
One afternoon after school pick up I was struck by a flash of inspiration. What if there was a boy who inherited incredible physical powers but he just wanted to get rid of them? I began working on what has now become The Mastery Chronicles, publishing a very early version with my eldest son as the protagonist for his seventh birthday.
After taking the Australian Writers Centre course, ‘How to Write for Children and Young Adults‘, I began honing the manuscript completely – developing a vibrant fictional world and designing a series around nine unique characters who represent each archetype of personality. I wanted to write a series that I would have lost myself in when I was a child – with adventure and drama, mystery and suspense.
Who knows where the road will take me but for now, I’m happy tapping away on these keys, spending spare moments figuring out plot problems, scouring Pinterest for inspiration and dreaming up rich worlds.
There is such magic in the written word and I’m honoured to get to participate in the wonder of creation every single day.