I grew up on a dairy farm on the Koo Wee Rup swamp in West Gippsland, Victoria. I preferred reading books and writing stories and poems to milking cows (although I loved playing with our dog and chooks).



My cousins Lynnette and Susan and I produced a newspaper called The Thrilling Three, and when I was nine I had my first poem published in the Junior Age section of The Age newspaper. It was called My Little Creek and I was paid 17 shillings and sixpence for it.



I made up most of my poems while riding my bike to school and piano lessons. When I came home I'd race up to the haystack and scribble them down in old exercise books.

After finishing school and university I taught English for a while in the country (more cows!) then travelled around the world to places like Siberia, Morocco and northern Sumatra. I started teaching again in Melbourne, played in a few rock and blues bands, and wrote more stories, which were published in Pursuit, Challenge, Explore and Comet magazines.



After a fight with a car while crossing the road on a pedestrian crossing in Paris (the car won) I decided what I really wanted to do was become a full-time writer. So now that’s what I do!

Lots of my books contain the two things I like the most: music and dogs.



Some of them, like Musical Harriet, have both!

These days I live in an old bluestone house in the inner-city with my partner, children’s author Paul Collins. We have heaps of pets: a kelpie cross named Jack, a red heeler called Molly, Harriet the cat, seven chooks, seven goldfish and several stray possums, lizards, flying foxes, parrots and bush rats.



Besides writing, I love sleeping, reading, eating chocolate and playing blues piano.



Molly and Harriet

Jack in our garden

The illustrations on this page are by Craig Smith, from my picture book Musical Harriet.