What’s your background? What compelled you to start writing?
I’ve been a software developer all my life; even when I’ve been in management roles, I’ve always been hands on. I like to learn new things and figure out how things work.
I wanted to help children learn some of the computational thinking skills needed to code, and so the Kanga Roopert & the Clubhouse Coders website was bourne. The Kanga Roopert picture books seemed like the next progression and we’re going to include a lot of VR in those too.
What’s your writing kryptonite?
Urgh! Social media! Your social media presence is really important as an author as that’s how your readers find out what you’re up to. In fact, it’s important for all businesses. But it’s so easy to run down the rabbit hole and spend hours trawling through Facebook or Twitter when you should be writing. I need more self-control!
If you didn’t write, what would you do?
Oh, it’s got to be something with animals. I’m surrounded by pets and they are all my extra babies – even the chooks. Maybe a cat stroker? Is that a job? Seems like it should be.
What sparked the idea for the Jackson’s Diary series?
I actually started the first book – Cow Trumps and Sheep Burps – back in 2006. I was writing it for my kids; it was sort of built out of nightly storytelling time. It sat around for years and I found it again at the beginning of 2018, partly finished. It needed a bit of work and an ending which I managed to get done fairly quickly once I’d figured out how it would end. The second book was easier; I had the idea and set out a plan of everything I wanted in it. The sub-plot with Boris-the-boyfriend will start to be a bigger part of the overall story in the middle books. I’m planning for this to be a five book series.
Were you an avid reader when you were growing up?
I’ve always been a voracious reader, even as a tot. I would read the paper (although I didn’t understand the context), cereal packets, anything I could get my hands on. Depending on the books, I read about two books a week and always have a pile ready; when one book is finished there’s always another waiting to be read. Sometimes I have two or three books I’m reading at once. Right now, I’m reading A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore who is my newest fave author. Also, The Dispossessed by Ursual Le Guin and The Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi – because I’me trying to read outside of my usual genre (I don’t read much Sci-fi).’
Do you base any of the characters on people you know?
My MCs generally aren’t based on actual people but some of my friends and family have cameo roles in many of my books. For instance, Mr. Marshall, Tracey and their dog Archie (Jackson’s Diary #1) are real people. You’ll see my kids and husband – Bethany, Reuben and Paul – pop up here and there throughout the Jackson’s Diary series and also in Kanga Roopert & the Clubhouse Coders. I think I’ll give them some time off with the next series though; they deserve it!