She’s also a radio announcer at Hope 103.2 in Sydney, a mum of 3 girls and wife of 1!!!
Her next book, Same, is a true story about her beloved brother, Charlie, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
1) What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?
The book I read the most when I was a kid was I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman. It was about a super brainy, talented nonchalant kid called Rudy Miller, who found it hard to fit in on a summer holiday camp. He was kinda cool, but also distant and somehow alienated from the other kids. I sometimes wonder what I related to in the character – perhaps the fact that he didn’t quite fit in, or that he was far away from home, missing his parents (I knew I would be going off to boarding school soon). Either way, it made me laugh and I read it 7 or 8 times in Year 5 and 6
2) What’s your favourite book as an adult?
I don’t have a favourite, but recently I enjoyed The Rosie Project… like everyone else. It has everything: an awkward, unlikely romance, (is there any other kind?) fascinating characters and lots of laughs. From the classics, I love Pride and Prejudice, but I’m also a bit obsessed with Jane Eyre. I love her passionate speeches and her fiery nature. (“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, - and full as much heart!” Sigh. I even named my newborn baby, Bronte, because I love it so much.
3) What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper. It’s about a very bright young girl with cerebral palsy and her frustration at not being able to express herself. I’m sure I’m partly enjoying this book because it’s helping me understand what life has been like for my older brother, who also has cerebral palsy, but it’s also just a great read. It’s a serious book, but humorous too and deeply touching. I’d recommend it for adults and children over ten.
4) What inspires you to write for children?
A few months ago I walked into the living room to see my 8 year old daughter engrossed in the last pages of a book, tears streaming down her face. She was reading The Kensington Reptilarium by N.J.Gemmell. In the last pages of the book, the children’s father, who has been Missing in Action returns from a prisoner-of-war camp, so thin and exhausted they can barely recognize him. Suddenly my daughter glimpsed what it must have been like for my own Dad when his father finally returned home after almost five years in a POW camp. I love that a good story can create that kind of deep empathy and understanding in children, while they’re learning and being entertained.
5) What do you consider your biggest achievement?
I think this new book, Same, is about to become my biggest achievement. I’m really proud of it, although I can’t take any credit for it, as the story was a gift from my brother. I love it because it’s true and it was such a lovely moment in my life. I hope it will help people confront their feelings and fears about people with disabilities and that it will empower more people to be brave in their interactions. If I never write another book for as long as I live, I will be glad that I wrote this one. And Jemima’s illustrations are stunning.
Same is now for sale here