I wrote and illustrated my first story, Goodbye Kitchen when I was six. It was thin on plot – Emily plans a picnic – that’s it – but with coconut-lime lollipops. Words were my first friends.
They helped me bridge the void between my hard-of-hearing sister and my parents. Only I could understand her, so I lent her my words until speech and hearing therapy gave her language. They let me stamp names on everything in the world – the tangible as well as the mysterious. They whisked me up faraway trees and through the gates of magical chocolate factories.
When I was 14, my dad placed Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, a play for voices in my hands. It centred me like clay on a wheel. I knew all I wanted was to do that with words.
After a Master’s degree in law at Yale, I set up a not-for-profit advocacy centre to end violence against women and helped draft new domestic violence legislation. When Hustler magazine made me ‘Asshole of the Month,’ for the racket I was making against violent pornography, I knew I’d shaken the misogyny tree. It’s still one of my grandest achievements.
I had babies and immigrated to Australia, where I finally finished my first novel, The Dreamcloth (2005). Unbecoming (2020) is my thirteenth book. Over the years, my books have sold over 750 000 copies internationally, and I’ve mentored hundreds of writers and aspiring authors.
My online writing courses are always available:
Writing as Medicine for the Soul (available on the Insight Timer app);
my 7 day writing challenge
7 Tricks to Writing Your Story
The Author Awakening Adventure and
Write Your First Draft Masterclass.
I live in Sydney, close to a beach with a good man called Zed, our campervan and cat Archie. Every day I read poetry, put words on the page and swim in the ocean (through winter and on rainy days too).
Someday I’ll have my own vegetable garden, an Australian sheepdog and a colony of rescue cats.
Invite me for an interview, podcast or to speak at your next event.