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I was born in Edmonton, Canada, but with a father in the Air Force, grew up in various places in France, Canada and Colorado. (To be precise: Longuyon, Magny-Metz, Ottawa, Red Deer, Colorado Springs, Toronto and Middleton, Nova Scotia.)
From the time that I learned to read and write in English, I wanted to be a writer, and wrote stories, plays and poetry throughout my school years. A story written when I was 9 - "Spring Island" - was in some ways a first draft of Nim's Island.
I thought of studying journalism but couldn't imagine being a reporter, and instead started Animal Care in Kingston, Ontario. Realising that wasn't for me either, I went to England for the summer and stayed in London to study Occupational Therapy. On a short holiday in Wales I met an Australian at a Youth Hostel - six months later Tom and I were married, and as soon as I'd graduated, I migrated to Australia.
We moved to Albury, New South Wales, where I worked as an occupational therapist. Our son James was born in 1979; a year later we bought our first farm, in northeast Victoria. Our daughter Susan was born there the following year.
After dairy farming for nearly twenty years, we moved to the Mornington Peninsula when Susan started university. She now works in Vancouver, and James in Melbourne. Tom and I are busy trying to restore our few acres of bush to its natural state as a home for wildlife.
I started writing seriously in 1986. At the end of that year I wrote the picture book Amanda's Dinosaur, which won an Ashton Scholastic competition for an unpublished picture book text. I've been writing ever since. Some of my books are written purely from imagination and some, as you may be able to guess from the above bio, come from things that have happened in my own life, such as Yasou Nikki, some parts of Ark in the Park and the background for Leaving it to You. In 1991 I had a serious car accident and had to give up working as an occupational therapist: the young adult novel Peeling the Onion is partly based on this accident and my recovery from it. My adult novel, The House at Evelyn's Pond, is purely fiction, even though the main character's life intersects geographically with mine.