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I've always loved stories. Family legend has it that I used to spend hours playing in the sand pit, with a dog on either side and Rocka the horse leaning over me, his head just touching my shoulder, while I told them stories. I have to say, apart from thier occasional tendency to drool, dogs and horses are great audiences. But people are even nicer.
Once I learned to read, I spent my days outside playing with the animals (I include my brother and two sisters here) and when inside I read. For most of my childhood we didn't have TV, so books have always been a big part of my life. Luckily our house was always full of them. Travel was also a big part of my childhood, as my parents had itchy feet. We spent a lot of time driving from one part of Australia to another, visiting relatives or friends or simply to see what was there. I've also lived in Scotland, Malaysia and Greece and we travelled through Europe in a caravan. I'd swum most of the famous rivers in Europe by the time I was eight.
No matter where I lived, I read. I devoured whatever I could get my hands on – old Enid Blyton and Mary Grant Bruce books, old schoolboys annuals. I learned history by reading Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece and Georgette Heyer. I loved animal books – Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby books and Mary Patchett and Finn the Wolf Hound. And then I read Jane Austen and Dickens and Mary Stewart and Richard Llewellyn and Virginia Woolf and EF Benson and Dick Francis and David Malouf and Patrick White and Doris Lessing and PD James and... the list is never ending.
I escaped from my parents, settled down and went to university. I went on to become a teacher and found a lot of pleasure in working with teenagers and later, adults. I taught English and worked as a counsellor and helped put on plays and concerts and supervised camps and encouraged other people to write but never did much myself. It took a year of backpacking around the world to find that my early desire to write hadn't left me, it had just got buried under a busy and demanding job.
I wrote my first novel on notebooks bought in Quebec, Spain, Greece and Indonesia. That story never made it out of the notebooks, but I'd been bitten by the writing bug.
And then I discovered Romance and the rest is... historicals...
Sleepless in Seattle