I have been fortunate to live in beautiful areas almost all of my life. Born in the Hawkesbury Valley of New South Wales in May, 1959, my family home was a timber house on a hundred-acre farm growing potatoes, pumpkins and corn right on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. My mother and father worked the farm while raising four children. The eldest were two boys, a year apart, then my sister a year later, and finally me, the youngest by almost four years. I have fond memories of the house on the farm, the outside laundry at the end of a veranda with timber slats, my big brothers catching wildlife in buckets to scare ‘the girls’ half to death. I remember frosty mornings in winter, swimming in summer, and catching a minibus to school at St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Richmond.
But half-way through Kindergarten a massive flood washed our house away and all of our belongings. It was the first major move in my life. My parents found a small property they liked at Plumpton, on the outskirts of Sydney where there were still open green spaces at the time. On a dirt road called Glendening they had a brick house built where I shared a room with my sister. I attended Marayong Primary and Infants School, and then Rooty Hill High School. I remember both schools quite vividly – the layout of the buildings and classrooms, the assemblies, standing on the asphalt for ages while the sun burned down on our heads (before hats were compulsory). I remember my friends, especially my best friend Denise Chemmello. I was sad and lonely for years after she moved to Freemantle, WA. And I remember the teachers, some more so than others.
My next major move occurred after I had married John Curley at 21, and had three children. We decided to raise our young family in Coffs Harbour, a tourist area on the mid north coast of New South Wales. It was the perfect place to venture into writing. Well known for its stunning beauty and diverse landscape, Coffs Harbour is where the Blue Mountains almost meet the Pacific Ocean, creating a unique environment of beaches, mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, creeks, rivers, lush green valleys and even its own mild and breezy weather.
Today I live on Mount Tamborine in Queensland’s Gold Coast Hinterland. It wasn’t easy finding another area as conducive to writing my paranormal books as Coffs Harbour, where I had written my first four. But there came a time when I felt that I had to move. In 2004 I became seriously ill with bone marrow cancer and a back crush fracture of several vertebra of my low back during a fall immediately after my stem-cell transplant. The memories of being so close to death and in significant pain seemed to close in around me. Coffs Harbour now held memories I found difficult to deal with on a daily basis. I yearned for a fresh new start. And my daughter Amanda and son-in-law Chris were married by now and had moved to Brisbane. They were expecting their first child and I didn’t want to be living in a different state, seven hundred kilometres away, when I became a grandmother for the first time. I now have two amazing grandchildren.
Here, on this beautiful mountain there are still rainforests, crystal clear creeks, waterfalls and views across the Border Ranges or Surfer’s Paradise and Brisbane. And on top of that, artists of all different kinds live here. This is where I write now. With my rainforest backyard to look at for inspiration. It’s where I wrote my new trilogy, The Avena Series – Hidden, Broken and Fearless. And it’s where my next writing adventure is about to begin.