What made you become an author?
What finally gave me the push to write seriously was my daughter, Lenore asking me to write a book for her based on a story I told her. She made me become a writer.
What was your first published book?
A book called Re-entry which has been rewritten and is now in its 3rd edition called Dear Pakistan.
What inspired you to write the Beyond Borders series?
I had changed states when I was a teenager, and as an adult I lived overseas in voluntary work with a mission. My children became third culture kids, and watching their culture shock (and mine) as we returned to Australia inspired the series.
Have you travelled to Pakistan since? Was it still a culture shock?
Yes, the first time I arrived in Pakistan I had culture shock and, as a woman, it took me a year to adjust. In coming back to Australia we also had culture shock. Possibly that is worse because you don’t expect the culture shock to be so bad in your own country, but it was. When I visited Pakistan in 2006 on an Asialink Fellowship to research more books, it was only for two months and the culture shock was less.
Why do you think Jaime is an inspirational heroine in the story?
Jaime is going through a difficult time of her life that people around her do not understand. She has to learn to adapt to different cultures and yet discovers the joy of doing that even though it is difficult each time she moves. During this process she picks up some wisdom and realises her experiences have helped make her who she is, a teen with unlimited potential.
Who is your favourite character in the series?
Tricky question. Besides Jaime, possibly Jasper in The War Within.
Can you give readers a hint at what they can expect in the next installment of the Beyond Borders series?
In 2002 terrorists attacked an international Christian school in the Himalayas, Pakistan. It was the school that my kids had attended and is the school which inspired Jaime’s school which she visits in The War Within. In Liana’s Dance Jaime writes the story of what happens to Liana when her school was attacked by terrorists a few years earlier.
Do you have any hints for aspiring authors out there?
Read a lot and learn to read like a writer: decide what you like about a writer’s story or technique and takes notes. Write down golden lines, but always put the author’s name underneath so you don’t mistakenly plagiarize. Always find out as much as you can about your characters because your characters will make or break your story. Most importantly work out what they want the most in the whole wide world; something important enough that would motivate them long enough for you to write a story about it. When you’re finished the first draft get your secateurs out and start cutting out the dead wood. Learn to enjoy editing and re-writing.