I have always drawn and I have always written stories. I have been making books since I was a child.
We moved countries a lot because of my father’s work and reading books and making them ourselves was an easy way for our mother to keep my sisters and I entertained in hotel rooms. I was lucky enough to have a few pivotal teachers along the way who encouraged me in Art and English and these ended up being the only two subjects I did well at in Year 12. So, it seemed a natural progression that I would go on to study art and it never occurred to me to stop writing. I can’t imagine not doing either of these things; they are so much a part of who I am.
I write and illustrate books for children of all ages; from board books for babies to novels for young adults. My most popular books have been the Billie B Brown and Hey Jack! series for younger readers. They have changed my life. I had been creating books for 15 years and already had over 30 books published before I started writing the Billie series. Within the first year of their release, they rapidly became the highest selling series for young readers in Australia. Six years later and they have reached sales of 2.5 million. No one had any idea they would be so successful. It feels quite surreal, but I also feel incredibly grateful. I think after having struggled for so long as a writer makes me appreciate daily how lucky I am now.
I am constantly striving to push myself into new areas, explore deeper parts of myself and how I view the world. I am inspired by humanity, kindness, courage and truth. These are all the things that encourage me to keep moving through the world with hope, and to keep creating art.
I think creative people need a whole lot of protection. I put an enormous amount of trust in the people around me who help manage my work. There are so many stories of artists who have been taken advantage of by the people around them so to know I don’t have to worry about copyright is a huge load off my mind and frees the mental space I need to create. I would much rather my mind was only filled with characters, emotion and beautiful sentences, but I need to stay in touch with the real world too.
Photo credit: Olivia Tran