A BIG Birthday Surprise

SOMETHING FOR FLEUR COVER ARTA snazzy flamingo called Fleur, an awesome hippo called Bo and a birthday surprise. That’s what you will find in my soon to be released picture book, Something for Fleur.

Illustrated by the marvelous Caitlin Murray, Something for Fleur is a fun story for children three years and up about friendship and birthdays.

I’m absolutely delighted to be working with the amazing team at Hachette once again to publish this story.  You can see more here.

To celebrate the release of Something for Fleur we will be holding two launches! One in Sydney at the Children’s Bookshop and another in Melbourne at the Little Bookroom – both are truly fantastic bookstores.

Both events are free and child-friendly. There will be cake, games and plenty of fun. We hope you can join us to launch Fleur and Bo into the world.

Fleur invite

****and for our launch in Melbourne, you can secure your spot here. ****




Launching Quark’s Academy

When I found out I was going to be published, one of my first thoughts was ‘hooray that means I can have a book launch!’ Who wouldn’t love, family and friends, books, cakes and bubbles all in the same room! And yesterday that happened.


The first of the ‘Quark’s Academy’ book events was held at the Lindfield Learning Hub. On top of being a brilliant bookstore, it’s an extra special location for me. Lindfield is where I grew up. The Learning Hub was a video store back in the day (old school VHS style). I used to pass the shop coming home from school – often ‘writing’ stories in my mind to fill in the time on the walk home. So to launch my first book there was such a treat. Thanks to Louise and the team at the Learning Hub for having us. (below my special helpers, Henry, Huddy and Josh, handing out lucky door tickets)

the hub outside

The event was made extra special by the many people who contributed to the day.

Judith Ridge (photo below), someone I greatly respect, officially launched ‘Quark’s Academy.’ Judith is a writer, editor, children’s literature expert and also my first writing teacher. It’s thanks to her encouragement that I found the confidence to keep writing! I learned a lot in those classes and feel fortunate that she was my teacher. Judith gave a wonderful speech which you can read here.


As ‘Quark’s Academy’ is a story about science and inventions, of course there had to be a science show. My friend, fellow writer and science teacher Murray Henstock, along with his two delightful children, Jackson and Grace put on a SPECTACULAR show that had everyone gripped. There were colourful concoctions, clouds and jet packs. Yes, jet packs! Not only that but they each wore lab coats with gold ‘Q’s on the pockets – just like the inventors do in the book! Thank you to Murray, Jackson and Grace (photos below) for your dazzling display of science and for making the day so fantastic.

murray 2


I also shared how I came up with the idea for Quark’s Academy and read snippets from the book. The Learning Hub was full with many enthusiastic young readers, as well as supportive family and friends – all of whom have been so excited for me and ‘Quark’s Academy’ since it was published. Thank you to each and every one of you! Also thanks to Alex Adsett, my terrific agent, and the team at Hachette. I’m beyond excited to have two more books coming out with Hachette and that I can continue to work with their dedicated and passionate team. (Photos below: reading from Quark’s Academy and with my goddaughter Evie).

The Hub


After all the cupcakes were eaten, I was happy to end the day with a photo with my wonderful writing buddies who are also lovely friends. They’ve been there from the start. Thanks to each of you (there are even more who aren’t in this photo like Penny and many others!).  An extra big thanks to Shelly, Kim and Ramona who seemed to be everywhere during the event making sure drinks were full, cupcakes were distributed and books signed!

writing group.jpg

I’ll be taking part in different events at various bookstores in Sydney in the coming months and I can’t wait to keep sharing ‘Quark’s Academy’ with readers. More on this soon.

See you next time








Finding an agent and publisher

This is the final blog post in a series of three about my road to publication.

In my last post, I shared how I came up with the idea of Quark’s Academy.  In 2015 I had the opportunity to pitch my story to agent Alex Adsett at the CYA Conference. I was delighted when Alex invited me to send her the full manuscript. A few months later, I heard from Alex and one of her lovely team members, Maddie Rothwell. AAPS were keen on Quark’s Academy, however the story still needed some development. So – off I went to work more on Quark’s. I was incredibly lucky to have the wonderful editorial feedback from Maddie along the way. (below Alex, me and Maddie).


I had booked in to attend the 2016 CYA Conference – the same conference that I had pitched Quark’s Academy to Alex a year earlier. A few days before the conference, Maddie called me to say AAPS would like to take me on (hooray!). At the conference, I signed the contract and officially joined APPS. Now I had an agent!

I also happened to win first place in the early reader’s category for a different story – Vikings Behaving Badly – it was a truly great day (as you can see from the width of my smile above).

Being represented by AAPS has been completely amazing. Writers tend to focus on the craft of storytelling and all that comes with it. Having someone who barracks for you and who is so knowledgeable that they can handle the many details that is part of publishing a book, has been simply incredible. I’m so grateful Alex and Maddie believed in me and my work from the beginning.

A couple of months after signing with AAPS, I had an offer for Quark’s Academy from Hachette Australia. I signed up with Hachette and started working with the wonderful editor Kate Stevens. (Below me and Kate). Working with Kate has been fantastic. Kate’s editorial feedback, guidance and support has helped develop Quark’s Academy to make it the best story it can be! Kate and I also share a love of cats – the perfect author/editor match.


Quark’s Academy is due for release in August 2017.

I also have a picture book being published with Hachette in April 2018! It’s called Something for Fleur. More on this one soon!!

You can read the first two posts in this series of three here:



Coming up with the idea for Quark’s Academy

Quark’s Academy will be my first published book!

The idea for Quark’s Academy first came to me when doing an astronomy course at the Sydney Observatory. It was taught by a charismatic, enthusiastic and clever professor called Paul Payne. Each week I attended class at the Observatory (which is such an amazing place) and more and more I thought about the fascinating world of science. It was during class that I had the first spark of an idea for Quark’s Academy. (The Sydney Observatory below)


(Image credit: The Sydney Observatory)

A little later, I cat-sat for friends while they were away. My house guest was a beautiful British Shorthair with lots of attitude named Sir Reginald. I just knew he had to be a character in the story.


And so I had the theme of science and a huge cat. I also knew I wanted go-getter characters who were bold, smart and had a sense of adventure.

I wrote the first draft of Quark’s Academy over about the space of a year. I then took it to my writing group to workshop and refine the story.

In July 2015, an opportunity came up to pitch story ideas to publishers and agents at the CYA Conference. For anyone who is an aspiring writer and doesn’t know about CYA, you should definitely check it out. It’s an incredibly well-organised event where you can meet and listen to industry experts, enter a great writing competition and be around other writers.

Keen to test out the waters and see what others thought about Quark’s Academy, I decided to book in for pitch sessions with various publishers and agents.

I would  have five minutes to ‘sell’ my story. This was a challenge that terrified and excited me – so of course I had to do it. On the morning of the conference I rehearsed my pitch several more times, and soon it was my turn to deliver it…

In my next post, I’m going to share how I secured an agent and found a publisher for Quark’s Academy.

If you would like to read about how I started writing for children, check out my first post: Writing for Children: getting started and writing groups.


Writing for Children: getting started and writing groups

In August this year, my first children’s book: Quark’s Academy will be published with Hachette. Quark’s Academy is a junior-fiction story about three science whizz-kids.

You can read the first two chapters in Hachette’s 2017 SNEAK PEEKS! Just ask your local bookstore for a copy!
Over a series of blog posts, I’m sharing how I went from deciding to write for children to finding a publisher.

Writing for children:

I’ve always been a keen writer and someone who enjoys creating stories. Children’s books especially interest me because of the long-lasting impact they can have on a person, and the way they share so many truths in such creative and wonderous ways.

The decision to start writing for children was an easy one. I just needed to figure out how!

Writing courses

Several years ago, I found a course through the Australian Writer’s Centre called ‘Writing for Children and Young Adults’, it was just what I was looking for. The course was informative, interactive and what gave me the confidence to keep going. I started to write more and not long after joined a picture book writing group at the NSW Writer’s Centre.

Writing groups

Being in a writing group would mean having my work discussed and critiqued regularly – which sounded terrifying! It would also require me to give feedback to other writers – also terrifying!
However, I decided to give it try and was thrilled to meet many other aspiring writers who shared my passion for children’s books. It was a wonderfully supportive environment and where I learned so much about the complex craft of writing for children and the industry.

After a couple of years in the picture book group, I decided I also wanted to write chapter books. So, I started another writing group called Down the Rabbit Hole. It was in this group that I started working on Quark’s Academy.

I wholeheartedly believe being in a writing group has enabled me to find a publisher. Why? because I think every writer needs a support network. People who will give you honest feedback, encourage you every step of the way and who ultimately help you to become a better writer. It’s also handy to have people who will eat biscuits and drink tea with you and never tire of endless talk of books, writing and publishing.

My writing group picture below:

Down the Rabbit Hole


Coming up with the idea for Quark’s Academy

… In my next post, I’m going to share how I came up with the idea for Quark’s Academy.