My writing timeline

1968 -1969:  Edited my high-school newspaper.  Wrote quite a few editorials which were censored by the teacher in charge.  Subject matter (prejudice, the war in Vietnam) considered too controversial for our conservative farm town of 1000 people.

1970-1974:  Edited and wrote articles for my university newspaper.  During my last year at uni, I wrote a weekly column called “Corn Stifles”.   Got in big trouble with my home town when one of these columns was reprinted in the widely read, state-wide newspaper, The Des Moines Register.  Looking back, I can see it wasn’t very diplomatic to come up with lines like, “You know you’re from Iowa when your town’s leading industry is old age.”

1975:  Living in Melbourne now, and believing passionately that girls and boys should be portrayed in non-sexist roles in kids’ books, I joined the Women’s Movement Children’s Literature Cooperative.

1976:  First story published in Australia, in the children’s section of  The Women's Weekly.  It was inspired by one of my students, a Year 7 boy who told me he was knitting a scarf which kept getting longer because he didn’t know how to cast off.

1977 to 1988:  Seconded to the Publications Branch of the Education Department.  Edited and wrote hundreds of articles for Pursuit, Challenge, Explore and Comet, beautiful magazines for school kids.

1980:  First book published.  It was Shopkeepers, a slim volume in a careers series produced by the Children’s Lit Cooperative mentioned above.

1978 to 1985:  Freelance articles, reviews and stories published in Cleo, Cosmopolitan, The Age, The Herald Sun and Australian Woman’s World.

1986:  Home with my first baby, I decided to write a book while she was sleeping.  This was Oz Rock, commissioned by Macmillan as a title in their high-interest series of school readers.  It was published in 1987.

1988: The other book I wrote while on family leave was published:  my first novel, You Take the High Road.  I was thrilled to be taken on by Penguin, who have published all my subsequent books.

1988:  Hello, Barney! published.

1990:  A Long Way Home published, my only book for adults.  I don’t like it anymore.  When I caught my daughter reading it I snatched it off her, and threw all my copies in the recycling.   Less said about it the better.

1993:  Stormy published.  I love her!

1994 – 2000:  Worked in schools full-time while husband stayed home to raise our daughters, run the house, do volunteer work at the primary school, go to the gym a lot and play pennant table tennis.  During this time I collected heaps of material for stories.

1996:  On Saturday mornings in a café, while younger daughter rehearsed for choir, wrote an Aussie Bite with older daughter.

1998:  Too Much to Ask For (Aussie Bite) published.

1998-2000:  On Saturday mornings, ran a Writing Group for teenagers at the Glenroy Library.  With the kids' enthusiastic support, wrote Asking for Trouble, a novel based on real-life naughty teenagers.

End of 2000:  Encouraged husband to return to paid employment.  And he encouraged me, bless him, to resign from my full-time job so I could write more.

2001:  Asking for Trouble published.

2003:  Two Weeks in Grade Six, written with younger daughter Anna, published.  Together we wrote two more books featuring Kaitlin, A Term in Year Seven (2005) and Escape from Year Eight (2007).

2007:  Making Jamie Normal published in the Aussie Chomps series.

2008:  Ruby Clair:  The Trouble with Ghosts published.

2009:  Another appearance from Ruby!  This time in Ghost with a Message.

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