I admit to living a somewhat eccentric life, which may account for my likewise eccentric writing. I was born in a small, quiet country town called Mackay, Queensland (don’t blame me for the name), Australia. The Second World War had just barely finished and my father, a school teacher, was back from active duty manning an anti-aircraft gun in the northern tip of Australia. I drifted into 20 years of a Sugar Chemistry position which entailed testing farmers’ sugar cane for sugar content (they were paid on the sugar level and tonnage of their crop). This employment was seasonal due to the growing season and so, for the rest of the year I endeavoured to dig for sapphires on the gem fields in western Queensland. It was very much like a Wild West frontier atmosphere in those days, full of interesting characters and amazing stories of chance fabulous finds and near misses. My gem finding days were curtailed when I was drafted into lecturing at the Sugar School where aspiring Sugar Chemists were trained and this occupied my time for the next 15 years or so. By then I’d become interested in herbal medicine and became a Naturopath and Homoeopath, completing a further handful of degrees over the next 20 years, including a university degree in Nutrition from a Californian University (the sole institution I could find who did a distant education degree in those days).
From there I moved to pharmacy, where I spent the next 20 years as a Naturopath (everything seems to involve twenty year stretches), complementing the orthodox medical regime with herbs and nutritional advice. Then I discovered writing. I’d always had a love of reading, ever since I was a child, and would often read in the semi-darkness until I had a headache (which I ignored and kept on reading), and that love carried over into writing some 40 years later. As usual in my life, I couldn’t even do this in a normal manner. Most authors, I believe, would have a storyline already in mind and would probably go so far as to map it all out beforehand on paper – Beginning, Middle and End - all neatly planned. But not me. I’d get up at three o’clock in the morning before work, make a cup of herbal tea (Tulsi, peppermint, chamomile and green tea all mixed together), sit in front of the computer and type away on the keyboard. Most times I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what the next sentence was going to be, let alone the next chapter and I had absolutely no notion of how the book was going to end. Still, it made life interesting. I’d often wonder during the day what was going to happen next in the story and would eagerly await the next morning to discover a little more of the plot. I’m sure most people don’t write like this, but it’s worked for all of my novels so far.
The stories ended up being love stories in essence, blended with a large helping of humour and a dash of sadness. I wanted people to laugh and cry; to tickle their inner emotions. Laughter defines us as human beings (although our pets are probably secretly laughing at us, but they don’t show it). As a Naturopath, I know that laughter has multiple health benefits and sadness puts our life into perspective by allowing us a quiet time to review where we’re going. The earlier tales revolve around Kim, martial arts Master and Temper Queen, who is desperately seeking her soul mate, but ending up with heartbreak after heartbreak. The stories catalogue her adventures and, along with her brother Paul, she meets and battles aliens, muggers, ferocious beasts (both animal and human), weirdoes, maniacs, deluded vampires, gangsters and murderers. As you do. She eventually does find what she’s searching for (Mandy) and settles down to a life of domestic bliss with her beloved. The stories then dissect her life and trace her from childhood to young woman to middle age; then old age, to her death and beyond. Kim’s dying was strangely upsetting for me. It took ages to write those last few pages because the computer screen kept blurring somehow. I couldn’t believe how attached I’d become to a fictional character - a construct of mere words. But, being a big believer in life after death myself, the ending was joyous and Kim was reunited with the love of her life, so the series ended on a happy note.
The second sequence of books deals with Stephen, a human, who is transferred into the body of a fairy clone to aid their hidden underground civilization. There he meets Thorn, a take-no-prisoners type of fiery warrior and her absolutely stunning sister, Tracey. The others members of the cast are Nix, a sarcastic goblin and Trix, an orphaned child-like elf. Together they wander the tunnelled wilderness in various adventures (mostly dangerous) as the fairies, goblins and elves endeavour to accustom themselves to Stephen’s strange and perplexing human ways. Complications arise when both Tracey and Thorn profess to love Stephen and he finds himself falling in love with the both of them as well. What to do? The solution to Stephen’s dilemma is totally bizarre and outrageous…….
But, at the moment, there’s just me and the geckoes (small, very loud, wall-climbing lizards), living together in harmony in a converted bus in a caravan park - weird to the very end.