Writing is my passion, and I enjoy getting others to write. I’ve taught writing, literature, and communication in Australia and overseas, working with community groups, employees in the public and private sectors, and students in high schools and universities. I’ve also had stints as an editor, text analyst, writing researcher, and e-course developer in writing and communication.
My current writing project is a modern take on a 19th-century American writer.
Publications include articles and an educational book about writing.
Formal education: BA literature, MA literature, Graduate Diploma communication management, PhD document design.
- Where is home?
Born and raised in Kansas, but Australia is my physical and psychological home. I live in the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage region west of Sydney, and a stone’s throw from a national park. It’s an inspiring place to work and dream.
- Favourite reads?
Creative nonfiction. Literary novels and short stories from the 1800s onwards.
- Why write?
To tell stories and along the way discover who I am, what I believe, and what I want to create.
- What’s important for writers to have or develop?
A rich imagination. Belief in yourself and your writing goals. An ability to push on despite disappointments. And a special place to write, what Virginia Woolf called a ‘room of one’s own’.
- What’s your favourite writing connection?
Varuna National Writers House in the Blue Mountains NSW provides residencies and other support for writers.
- Writing pet peeves?
People who straitjacket language, keeping to outdated grammar and punctuation.
- Other interests or hobbies?
I like photography, to experiment with colour and composition rather than try get a perfect shot.
- Your writing legends?
J. M. Coetzee. Kate Grenville. Alice Munro. Jane Smiley. Charlotte Wood. Tim Winton.
Joyce Carol Oates’s short stories. Marilynne Robinson’s fiction. Mary Renault’s historical fiction. J. K. Rowling’s fantasy.
- If you could time travel back to meet famous writers, now dead?
I’d chat with American writers Flannery O’Connor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edith Wharton. Watch Shakespeare in rehearsal. Listen to a lecture by Mark Twain. Seek out some of the minor women writers of the 1800s, such as Kate Chopin. In Concord Massachusetts I’d get down and ‘transcendental’ with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
- The path not chosen?
In primary school, I dreamed of becoming a fossil-hunting archeologist. In college, I fell in love with 19th-century American and British literature. But I was fortunate to enter the communication field, where I researched and taught writing and aspects of culture, gender, technology, groups, and organisations.