Thursday, 14 November 2019

Meet Our Members: Leanne Wood




Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.


Today interview Leanne Wood


Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.


I am a poet, an avid reader and the author of five novels. 

With an extensive background in business, law and psychology, I said goodbye to my corporate career and have spent the last five years devoted to writing stories about life and on subjects’ people can relate, stories that evoke emotion and take readers on a journey.



I live in the Central Tablelands and I love cooking, gardening and the great outdoors. 


Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?


While there has been a persistent sentiment among publishers and agents in the traditional publishing world to stick to one genre, I have not pigeon-holed myself. My stories are about personal experience.

My first novel, Pages Of Your Life – The Secret Life Of Shirley Rumming was historical fiction and formed the basis for my, “Secrets Trilogy” an Australian family saga. The subsequent novels within this trilogy were mystery and suspense.



My fourth novel, Torment was a thriller/suspense while my latest novel, The Belonging was a clean contemporary Christian fiction. Why? Because stories about life are varied, stories about life can’t be pigeon-holed.


Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?


I am blessed to have a wonderful international fan base. One of my greatest rewards as an author is to receive positive feedback from those who have enjoyed my work. With varied genres and a target audience of adult and young adults, I’m more than happy for anyone to read my stories.




Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?


My process is always slow to start, using an excel spreadsheet I detail chapter outline and character descriptions. This spreadsheet is my guide and can be modified as the characters develop. My writing is fast, yet never systematic as I pick the chapter I’ll work on according to my mood. At the conclusion of a writing session I edit. When all pieces of my puzzle (all chapters) are complete I read the complete novel and conduct full edit. Then it’s sent away to my wonderful team of beta readers. When returned I change the font style, size and colour to make any changes and re-read. Changing fonts may sound a little weird, but I was offered this advice years ago and it does assist as it reduces the chances of anticipated recognition. I also convert my novel to an audio file and listen to identify any tiny errors. Finally, it’s sent to my editor, returned for yet another revision. At this stage I employ the services of a professional cover designer and arrange advance reader copies to be distributed. Formatting and upload complete!




What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?


My main source of reference to assist with writing style, structure and grammar is the internet, and I subscribe to various sites and blogs. My favourite being Linda S. Clare, an expert writing advisor for George Fox University.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi has also proven to be of great assistance.




If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

My shout out would be non-specific. I wish all members all the very best in all their endeavours, both within the artistic world and with personal life.




What are your writing goals for 2019/2020? How will you achieve them?


My writing goals for 2019/2020 are promoting my current novels and outlining ideas for my next. I’m also enjoying the opportunity to give back to others, offering my services to review and critique written creations for aspiring authors. Over the years I’ve received so much assistance from those with more experience, and I believe giving back is not only important, but extremely rewarding.



Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

Faith impacts and shapes our lives in every aspect including writing. Religion plays a positive role in shaping one’s personality and morals, it provides support and help through difficult times. Faith allows one to find strength to move forward, believing delivers peace and comfort. When faced with any challenge in life, be it writing or anything else I remember what the Bible teaches us. God not only offers us encouragement when we’re in a difficult pit, but he actually enters into the pit with us to see us through.






Leanne Wood is a poet, an avid reader and the author of five novels. With an extensive background in business, law and psychology, Leanne said goodbye to her corporate career and has spent the last five years devoted to writing stories about life and on subjects’ people can relate, stories that evoke emotion and take readers on a journey. Her latest work is a clean contemporary Christian fiction, The Belonging.
Leanne lives and works out of her home in the Central Tablelands of Australia, she loves cooking, gardening and the great outdoors.



SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LeanneWoodauthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/LeanneWoodautho

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/leannewoodauthor

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00SM1OGW2




Monday, 11 November 2019

It's that NaNo time again - Susan J Bruce


November is here and so is NaNoWriMo. By NaNoWriMo I mean National Novel Writing Month - an initiative created to inspire writers to create a short novel of 50 000 words in thirty days. Some will write in notebooks, some may write on vintage typewriters like the one pictured above and others will fire up their latest MacBook or PC. Some will write slowly using NaNoWriMo as a motivator to write every day. While others will blitz the word count in 24 hours. I kid you not.

According to the NaNoWriMo website, I've participated in the challenge eight times, but I've only 'won' it twice by reaching the 50K words in the month. I can’t say that all those words were usable at the end of that time. More like about 10K. So why do it again? Especially when I like to edit my writing as I go?
In all truth I was going to give NaNoWriMo a miss this year but then my writing group, which contains several seasoned authors, decided that they would have a go. I couldn’t back out, could I?
I decided to dive back in and see how many words I could write. I’ll be delighted to reach the 50K word count but if I can write 20-25K words I’ll happy. The thing is, I’m approaching the writing differently this year.
In the past I’ve rocked up to the NaNoWriMo site on day one, created a project and started writing. Now this may be a great strategy for the ‘pantsers’ amongst us – those who write by the seat of their pants and don’t plot. I can do that for a short story or even the first 10 000 words of a novel but I can’t seem to ‘pants’ a novel length plot. 

I admire people who can, but I don’t work that way. I’m a ‘tweener’  or a ‘plotser’ – halfway between a plotter and a pantser. I work best when I have a rough outline signposting the way and a clear understanding of how the novel will end. Then I can write freely and create interesting tangents. The problem comes if they are too interesting and change the nature of the story, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Marathon running has a lot in common with novel writing.
This year I thought I was better prepared. It makes sense doesn’t it? If you want to run a marathon – or a half marathon – you have to plan and prepare your body and mind for the task (yes, I'm an expert on running - NOT :D). I didn’t do the writing equivalent of running 10 kms a day. I didn't even do writing sprints, but I thought about the plot and my characters and tried to get a sense of their voice and their heart. 

I also chose to write a shorter novel so that it would be complete in around 50-60K words. For me that meant writing an amateur sleuth mystery based on a character I created years ago. I had fun pondering her backstory and giving her a lot more colour and depth than she had before. I didn’t get all the background work finished before I started the story, but I did do some and it made a difference.
Until… the second week hit. NaNoWriMo likes to deliver some knockout blows. One often happens in the second week – you hit a roadblock. This year, this is where the story became much sadder than I wanted it to be. It was based on a short story I wrote a while back and I fear this particular tale may work best in it's original form. I was faced with the decision: to either keep writing this story or do something different. As I'd already done a lot of character work on the first story, I decided to switch to a different novel with the same character, a month later in her timeline. 
The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that you can do stuff like this. It doesn’t even matter if I finish the 50K words, or if I write 8K words in one novel and 42K works in another. The important thing is to keep writing and explore the genre I’ve chosen.
I’ve written a YA with crime elements before but not a murder mystery, so the genre is new to me but it’s a fun idea. NaNoWriMo is a great time to try something new. If it’s not the right genre for me then I’ve still had 30 days of writing practice - and that may spark other ideas I can run with. 
NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone but it can be a useful way to dong the nasty inner editor on the head and knock her out for a while. She can have her day when I’m finished with the first draft. It WILL need editing, believe me, whatever I write.
What about you, oh intrepid writers? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What genre are you writing and what strategies do you use to help you create a story that works? What's your experience this year?
Let me know in the comments below.

Susan J Bruce, aka Sue Jeffrey, spent her childhood reading, drawing, and collecting stray animals. Now she’s grown up, she does the same kinds of things. Susan has worked for many years as a veterinarian, and writes stories filled with themes of suspense, adventure, romance and overcoming. Susan also loves to paint animals. Susan won the ‘Short’ section of the inaugural Stories of Life writing competition and won the 'Unpublished Manuscript' section of the 2018 Caleb prize. Susan is the editor of 'If They Could Talk: Bible Stories Told By the Animals' (Morning Star Publishing) and her stories and poems have appeared in multiple anthologies. Her e-book, 'Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story' is available on Amazon.comYou can check out some of Susan’s art work on her website https://www.susanjbruce.com/animal-art .





Thursday, 7 November 2019

CWD Member Interview – Susan Preston



Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.
Today interview Susan Preston

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
I am Scottish by birth, Australian by choice, and grateful for the culture of both
The town of my birth is a historical ‘Royal Burgh.’ 
I have always loved history.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing.  What do you write and why?
This now becomes complicated as I have recently written a non-fiction book, but before that I wrote Biblical Fiction
The Apostle John Series is a 5-book series set in 1st century Ephesus. It came about because of an in-depth Bible study on the gospel of John, which whetted my curiosity, and I started researching to check what I had heard in the Bible study series. As for the Apostle John being married… that was a ‘what if’ scenario… although there are some strange ideas on the Internet about his ‘wife.’ I chose to ignore them and have him a widower with a family.







Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
A mixture of young and old, male and female, and I appreciate every one. I also appreciate the people who judged the books for the awards they won.
Non-fiction: I would like everyone who NEEDS to read it, to read it. I particularly would like some of the care agency staff to read it. (This is why I am planning a follow-up specifically targeting the ‘helpers.’)

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
The biggest challenge I used to face was being side-tracked. Research became addictive for me and I would find myself going off at many tangents.
Now, my challenges are health ones but they haven’t stopped me. Slowed me at the moment, but my mind is busy.

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 
I do not have one particular writing craft book, I have a bunch of ebook versions – when I can find them in among all the other books. But, yes. I know how to search the content and find them. Other than that I have found Mark Dawson’s SPF community very helpful. (Finding the time to be there is my biggest problem at the moment.)

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
There are lots of lovely authors in CWD, unfortunately my visits there have been rather sporadic since the oxygen and the hospital appointments, not to mention admissions. However, I would ‘shout out’ to Jeanette O’Hagan, who does so much, is so welcoming… and writes interesting stories.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019/2020? How will you achieve them?
First, will be the follow up oxygen book. I was surprised by the fact it ‘spoke to’ other people with chronic, life-limiting illnesses. Someone said to me recently, “We don’t know how living with this feels.” Another said, “I don’t know how to help you.” So, for all the people out there without a voice, but living with serious health problems, I will do the follow up book.

My other project will be another Biblical one, but set farther back in time. Off to the Old Testament for this one.
I will achieve them by putting my bottom on the chair in front of the computer and starting to pull all the ‘bits’ together. This will include asking for help from people with the knowledge.

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
My faith is a way of life. It’s not something I ‘put on’ to go to church. I could do a lot better, but I aim to live what I believe. Some would say that limits me in that there are some subjects I do not write about, but I am not ‘walking in their moccasins.’
Actually, I learned a lot from those early Christians who would go to the arena rather than deny their faith. (Hopefully, that will not be something required of me.) My fiction writing tends to be about strong, committed characters who live their lives in the world (and time period they are in). 
The non-fiction is aimed at being a way of helping others. It’s true what Stella Budrikis said in the professional review of the book… “She has written the sort of book she wished she could have had herself when she first started home oxygen therapy.” 

What I can do to serve others is limited, this is something I can do.






Susan Preston brings early Christianity to life by writing fiction based on fact for people who enjoy Biblical history.
Research, fascination and curiosity took over and thus began this series where characters became ‘family.’
 Life experiences were not always happy – the death of a son, then in 2013 the death of her husband. The emotions from all her experiences contribute to her writing prowess. Now, the new challenge of living tethered to a machine… who knows what that will end up triggering.
(Her book covers show her name as Susan M B Preston to differentiate her from another Susan Preston who had books on Amazon.)

Monday, 4 November 2019

Exploring Genre - Devotional Writing



From the time I was little, I dreamed of becoming a writer. It didn’t happen … at first. But as I reached the ripe old age of 50 ... I finally made it. And I haven’t looked back! The interesting truth though is that I never planned to write what I do now—for some reason, devotional writing didn’t sound like ‘proper writing’ to me! As a little girl, I read lots of fiction and revelled in it. I scribbled a plethora of stories, poems and songs into exercise books. All that reading (and writing) should have produced works of fiction in later life, don’t you think? But … what did God call me to write? Yep! You’ve guessed right—a cousin to devotional writing—inspirational writing. (Although … if I had my way, I’d call them books on Christian living.) God has a great sense of humour, don't you think? 

I am glad to report that I am oh-so-content with the kind of writing I engage in. God’s been wooing me over the years into a journey of deep intimacy with Him, so perhaps my writing is not so weird after all. Two years ago I chose Psalm 27:4 as my go to verse for my new decade: One thing I ask from the Lord, and this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Leading others to do the same would thrill me, just as having Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles bounding into my backyard would make me jump up and down with joy and excitement. So here’s a big bold YES to devotional writing.


What IS devotional writing? And how does one set about it?

Purpose:
We followers of Jesus seek to spend time with Him every day in order to nurture our love relationship with God. A devotional (as you know) is a tool with which to deepen our walk with God.

Format of a Devotional Piece:
Devotional Writing ideally needs four or five components to make it work. Of course, it’s important to check the magazine you submit to, to know what that particular platform is seeking:
1.     A Theme – ‘perseverance’, ‘courage’, ‘prayer’, ‘standing firm’ and so on.
2.     A Scripture Reference – A passage from the Word.
3.     A Story to match the Bible reading – Here’s where your writerly tongue sings.
4.     A suggested Practical Action – Always a help
5.     A Prayer – This is not essential but would be a good finish.

Number of words
Devotionals are short pieces of writing—between 150 – 500 words with an average of around 200-250. They are short because they usually they deal with just one basic idea which challenges and inspires the reader. Do check the publication you are submitting to as to the length required by them.

Whom do Devotionals cater to?
All believers—which means everyone. You could tailor your devotionals to what you know about. If you are a twenty something young person, you could write about the pressures of young people today and biblical application that would encourage others. If you are on the other hand, a fifty year old, you could focus on the challenges middle aged people face. And so on. Or you could write about what interests you most and in the category you know you can write about.


Who should write them?
Anyone God calls. You, for instance! Do you feel a tug at your heart to inspire and motivate others as I do? Perhaps that’s an indication of your calling. Are you in love with Jesus and desire to see others splash into the depths of knowing Him better? That says something. Do you love to read and study scripture and to share His truths with the world? Ah! That is telling.

Qualities of a Devotional Writer
We cannot lead others to do what we do not do. So … if we desire our readers to connect with God, we too need to connect with God on a daily basis. A devotional writer needs to be grounded in God and His Word. To study the scriptures often. To use it as her meat and drink, her wine and cheese, her bread and butter. Writing devotionals is good for the soul. We need humility and godly wisdom. God asks that we become lovers of God in order to make others seek after God. And of course—the devotional writer needs to love books, reading and writing as do all writers.

Abilities of a Devotional Writer
Can you string sentences together? Do you find messages in day to day occurrences? Do you like to connect others with God? Do you love studying the Word? All of these would help. The love of the language is important and the love of God and His Word a must.



What does a good Devotional look like?

Here are a few Devotionals from Australian and New Zealand Writers:
(Please click on the links of the resources given below. Links are in red)








Resources: Some helpful articles:










Two Devotional Websites you can contribute to:



2.     The Upper Room


 My first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is (I’m told) used as a devotional for families - Mums and Dads read it to their children. The book is a collection of 75 little God stories – I didn’t plan them to be devotional reading. I assumed it was inspirational reading – but it seems they fit the category. 

If you are interested in writing devotionals, don’t let anything stop you. Jump in and discover the joys not only of the writing process but also the journey God takes you through when you aspire to teach, inspire and bless others through your writing.



And finally … a Few Tips:

1.     If God calls you to write devotionals do run with it. You won’t regret it.
2.     Encouraging others to a deeper walk with God does matter. If God has placed it on your heart, dive in
3.     Keep it simple – devotional pieces are not complicated. Let the Spirit guide you.
4.     Use good writing. Metaphors are powerful. Show don’t tell.
5.     God will often make you live out the experience you are writing about. Ouch! But you will grow through it.
6.     Enjoy!



Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus.

Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 little God stories that will bring you closer to your Creator. Her 2nd book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ brings you hope and comfort for life’s soggy seasons. Her 3rd book, ‘Sharing the Journey’ is a sequel to 'Enjoying the Journey' and will be released on March 7th 2020.

Do stop by at her website Dancing in the Rain to say G’day!






Monday, 28 October 2019

God's Ways and Ours



I love reading stories of God’s reality in our world. So this year, I hoped to submit at least one story for the Stories of Life competition. I believed I knew which story God wanted me to share. It was about moving home—a season when He’d taught me much about Himself, His love and His ways. He’d taught me then how to pray using the scriptures. He’d taught me how we can witness His power and His glory and I couldn’t wait to share it with the world.

For weeks on end, I worked hard on my story, refining it over and over again like an athlete in constant training before her winning race. An idea had been percolating in my brain on the next story I’d write, but God surprised me a week before the closing date of the competition with a huge dose of His love and I knew that that was what I had to write about. It didn’t take long to rustle up a 500 word story which I sent off as my second entry.

I was certain my first story would be chosen for the anthology. After all, I’d been writing for twelve years now and knew how to write a good story of faith. (Or did I?) Besides, God would want the world to know what He did for us back then. But … when the long list was announced, my eyebrows shot up and my puppy dog’s tail had to be tucked in! The story which I had persevered over for weeks on end hadn’t made it. Instead … the little tale written in a flash of inspiration—that had got in. Wow!


After the initial shock wore off, I could not stop smiling, because the truth bopped me on the head and I could finally laugh at myself. Of course! Silly little me!
  • ·       I can hope for success but it is God’s will that will come to pass.
  • ·       I could work hard but unless God blesses my work it is of no avail.
  • ·       I might plan, but it’s always God’s purposes that will prevail.

Like the sun’s golden rays, Isaiah 55 shone light onto my path. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.

My journey into becoming a Christian Writer had started after a series of failures in finding employment. Yes, failure was the springboard to my writing life, my dream life. That’s what God does. Failure in His vocabulary is often spelt SUCCESS! As soon as my first book was written, He found me a publisher—just like that. That was God! My second book on the other hand, took years to get published … I faced rejection after rejection from various publishers for eight long years! That was God too—He kept me humble and leaning on Him. Thank you God. Don’t you love it how He shapes us and grows us through life’s journey?

God has blessed me beyond measure as I’ve followed His heart in my writing. He has also helped me discover time and time again that in myself I have nothing to offer the world. I need the Holy Spirit’s help in all of my writing, because unless the Lord builds the house, we build in vain. Yes, God’s ways are rarely our ways; His thoughts are rarely our thoughts.


Where you are in your writing journey dear fellow-writer? Are you inspired and productive? If so I rejoice with you. Are you struggling with the delays and disappointments that have blocked your way? I know what that’s like. Don't forget that what you class as failure, might in His book have a bold title: “SUCCESS”. Being faithful to all He has called you to is what matters. In eternity, you will discover the fruit of your hard work, your journey, the relationships you have nurtured, your life. And you (and I) will be surprised—what we consider achievements here on earth may be just a small dot on the heavenly landscape while what we discard as failures may be what the Father delights in and brings glory and honour to His Name.

No, God’s ways are not our ways. And for that we can be thankful.

All that I have seen, teaches me that I can trust God for all that is yet to come.
I know your Writing journey must bring great joy to our Father’s Heart. 

Keep writing! 


Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus. 

Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 little God stories that will bring you closer to your Creator. Her second book  Dancing in the Rain brings you hope and comfort for life’s soggy seasons. Her third book, Sharing the Journey is a sequel to Enjoying the Journey and will be launched on March 7th 2020.

Do stop by at her website Dancing in the Rain to say G’day!




Thursday, 24 October 2019

Title: CWD Member Interview – Debra Williams


Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today interview:  Debra Williams (Pen name Debra Clewer)

Question 1: Tell us three things about who you are and where you come from. 

I am Debra Williams from the NSW country town of Cootamundra. I moved here in 2002 with my late clergy husband John Clewer, after forty plus years in Sydney. Along with being an author, I am an established puppeteer and puppet builder.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I write currently for the Middle-Grade age group (8-12 years) but am branching out into different age groups and genres. I have signed up for an online course in writing chapter books for 6-9-year-old children. My aim with my writing is threefold: to engage children in reading, to engage their imaginations and to teach them some historical fact in a fun way. Whilst I write fantasy, most of it is based on historical fact. I also try to introduce Christian concepts such as forgiveness, doing the right thing, prayer and honesty.


My other reason for writing is to share my faith where I can. When John died suddenly in April 2016, twelve days after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, we had been together for 40 years. We were in Christian ministry for 25, first through Church Army, then in the Canberra-Goulburn diocese where John was priested. His eyesight failed and he took early retirement in 2012. He was passionate about his faith. The night before his funeral my young granddaughter Bethany asked how granddad would be able to see in heaven because he was blind. We had a good talk about heaven from the Bible and what things would be like. Friends suggested I should write something for children to explain these things. Recently I entered the Dear Jesus diary competition through Elephant House press and wrote a 12-day journal entry story from Bethany’s point of view. It has been accepted for publication in a children’s anthology.


John had co-written a large part of the first draft of Harriet and the Secret Librarian with me, and when it was published last year, I did so with a printed dedication to him. 
Encouraging children with their writing is important to me, and I recently ran my first children’s writing workshop at our local library.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

Many adults and children have read my work and been absorbed in the stories. One boy in New Zealand whose dad is a member of CWD read my first two novels in three days last year and loved them. He now has a copy of the third novel in the series, and I’m hoping for another review from him. I would like anybody and everybody of any age to read and be engaged with my stories, even though they are aimed at a particular age group and genre.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

My process is to first come up with an outline for the story, with the protagonist, supporting characters and loose story structure. Whilst I am writing, I will refer back to the outline to check whether I have achieved what I have set out do. Of course, the Lord often changes my ideas and gives me wonderful new ones to add in, usually about two o’clock in the morning! My challenge is then to remember what has come to mind so that I can record those notes later on. What helps me the most is giving my writing to the Lord and submitting my writing to the online critique group of which I am a member. Their feedback is always most welcome. I also visit the places written about in my books for research, helps enormously with my story structure.

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 

The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke. Jeff has helped me to re-structure my writing and turn it upside down. I realised when writing my first novel that the opening scene was wrong, and I needed to re-work what I had written, changing the opening to be much later in the book. One of the pieces of advice was…” Never start with a flashback, unless you’re already a really established author.” I had started off that way, but changed the beginning, and for the better.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

To Jenny Glazebrook, for her continuing faith and trust in her life and writing direction. I have been inspired by her integrity and inherent faith and trust in the challenges she has faced.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019/2020? How will you achieve them?



I have released my third novel in my middle-grade Harriet series, which happened in September 2019. Several people have commented that they have ideas for my next novel (which I must admit, at this stage, I haven’t really thought about!) However, having said that, I have left the ending of the current novel open to lead into the next. My husband and I visited Tasmania in February this year. We loved the Devonport Maritime Museum, and I discovered that there had been a shipwreck called Harriett. There wasn’t enough time to delve into it as we were on a time-constrained bus trip. We are hoping to re-visit Tassie for a short break in December and I would like to gather some information from the Maritime Museum for the next chapter in Harriet’s life. 

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?


My faith has a huge impact on my writing. Everything is committed to the Lord. In my first novel, Harriet and the Secret Rings, Harriet and her friend time-travel to three different historical periods. One is Philippi, where they are accidently arrested and end up in jail next to Paul and Silas. I have taken both an historical angle and a faith angle with this adventure, with Harriet assuring her friend she knows how everything will turn out due to her attendance at her church’s kid’s club. Harriet has a quiet faith and optimism and of course, she is proven right.