About Me

 

I was born in Canberra, Australia, in the 1970’s, but I spent most of my childhood in Dorrigo, a small town in northern New South Wales where my parents owned and operated a dairy farm.

At school, I was the sort of kid who sits in the library at lunchtime hiding my sandwiches beneath the latest book by David Eddings or Katherine Kerr. My best-loved childhood books were always fantasies. Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, David Eddings’ The Belgariad and The Malloreon. In class, I filled the back pages of my exercise books with my own epic tales. I remember being very chuffed when my 6th grade teacher invited me to read one of my stories to the whole school at the end-of-year formal assembly.

I also loved science fiction movies and cartoons. My younger sister and I could recite whole chunks of dialogue from Star Wars, and we had a penchant for wearing long white socks pulled up over the outside of our school sandals in imitation of Princess Leia’s white knee-high boots.

On finishing high school, I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do career-wise. Writing seemed a childhood dream rather than a real possibility, something only smarter, more gifted people could do. And so in my 20’s I spent a lot of time travelling overseas on the cheap. I’ve now travelled through 38 countries, backpacking my way from Beirut to Bombay, Bruges and Belgrade, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the pyramids of Giza, and I’ve lived and worked as a waitress in Eilat, Israel, as an illustrator in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and most recently as an English teacher in China’s Fujian Province.

After enrolling in university as a mature age student, I graduated with a BA in Visual Arts and a Post-Graduate Diploma of Education, qualifying me to teach high school art. On graduating, I was chosen as a ‘super-grad’, which meant I was immediately offered a permanent position at one of western Sydney’s largest public high schools. I accepted the offer.

My parents’ farm, Dorrigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved teaching, but it took only a few months for me to realise that I wanted something more, something that would satisfy my creative urges just as I was helping my students explore theirs. It was around this time that I met my future husband, Lazar. He’d arrived in Australia as an 18-year-old refugee from the Yugoslav wars some years prior to our meeting. When we met, he’d just finished his first semester at university in Sydney. He told me then that one day he was going to be a doctor; I thought that was amazingly ambitious given that he’d also just told me he’d failed two of his first four units at university because his academic English was still so poor. With Lazar’s encouragement, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a writer — ‘following my bliss.’

Over the next few years, I spent all my spare time writing, reading and putting my abysmal early short stories in the mail. I’ve now had more than a dozen short stories published nationally and internationally in publications such as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Aurealis, Borderlands, Indigo Rising Magazine and Orb Speculative Fiction. Two of my stories have appeared in Year’s Best anthologies, one in the Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 5, and another in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012. My story ‘The Last Deflowerer’ was named as a finalist in the Best Fantasy Short Story of the 2008 Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards.

Lazar and I married in 2003, and my writing took a backseat for a few years when our two beautiful daughters arrived in 2006 and 2008. In 2010, Lazar did indeed become a doctor when he graduated with a PhD in Ancient History/Roman Literature.

Over the last couple of years, while continuing to teach, I’ve struggled with writing a speculative fiction novel. All of my published stories have been in this genre, my childhood favourite, but writing a novel in the same genre just wasn’t working for me, and I’ve deservedly consigned quite a few practise novels to the recycling bin. So in 2012, I decided to write about something far closer to home — a ‘mainstream’ novel inspired by (but not based upon) my husband’s adolescence in Croatia during the Yugoslav wars. See Lazar’s Story and My Novel for more.

Expect to see When With Wolves in print soon!

The Maric family in 2011, Wuyi Mountains, China. This picture was part of our ‘wedding photo’ package (see ‘Wedding Photos’ page).