Lives in Melbourne, loves porridge, fascinated by the world, has too many books, would like to be able to sing, takes photos of nature and street art, thinks music is medicine and can't say no to white chocolate.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This story is a fictionalised account of a relatively unknown chapter in Australia's history. Most Australians grow up learning about Matthew Flinders who was the first to circumnavigate Australia. The next person to circumnavigate Australia was Captain Phillip Parker King, the first Australian born white explorer. He mapped and explored the north and western coasts of Australia four times. An amazing thing to do at the time of few maps and unknown places. He kept an account of his explorations in a journal called 'The Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia: Performed between the Years 1818 and 1822, Volumes One and Two' which are available to read on the Project Gutenberg website - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11203/11203-h/11203-h.htm
I found out about this story through my grandfather. He told me my fifth great grandfather was also on these voyages. He was a Lieutenant and his name was Frederick Bedwell. My grandfather was always trying to interest me in this story when I was growing up but being young at the time this story floated over my head. Fast forward a few decades and when my grandfather passed a few years ago I reread one of his publications he had put together about our family history and in it were snippets of Frederick Bedwell's story and his work surveying the coast of Australia with King. This led me to the journals Captain Phillip Parker King had written and I thought it was amazing that I could read about what an ancestor had experienced hundreds of years ago - what a gift! This time I was also ready to, I guess, 'receive' the story - I was older, interested in my ancestry, had a new found appreciation for the place I live (Australia) and am fascinated reading about the meeting of different worlds and cultures.
I started to read the journals and found them absolutely fascinating. However, I also found it hard to read due to the writing being in a very factual, old English style (obviously, it is almost two hundred years ago). I really wanted my kids to be know about their ancestor so I thought what if I rewrite in a style they are used to and that is how it all started.
Who are your favorite authors?
Geraldine Brooks and Hannah Kent are two of my favourite Australian authors - historical fiction geniuses!!
Lofty really wants to go home but he is stuck on a ship on the other side of the world. There’s just one problem. He can’t and he is surrounded by so many scary things in Australia – sharks, snakes and pirates. Luckily, his friend Plant Spy is there to help him. Does Lofty realise the wonders he is experiencing or does he keep wishing to go home?