My life began in Melbourne and when I turned one, my family moved to a farm just near Dunkeld (3hours west of Melbourne). I loved it. We had sheep, cows, horses and, of course, dogs!
I went to Dunkeld Consolidated Primary School where I had so many wonderful teachers who encouraged my love of reading books and writing stories.
Besides writing stories, I work as a teacher. My mum is also a teacher and was a great inspiration for me. She told me that to be a good teacher you have to genuinely want to see other people grow and succeed. I started as a Primary School teacher and now teach English as an Additional Language at a community centre part-time which I love.
The rest of the time I spend with my son who luckily loves reading as much as me, so we spend lots of time at the library where we read books and play with the dinosaur toys!
I wrote the first draft for Who is Fitzy Fox? on a scrap piece of paper 5 years ago while living in Scotland. The idea came to me after seeing these lovely books in the bookshops called Morningside Maisie by Aileen Paterson. Maisie is cat from Morningside (a suburb in Edinburgh) who goes on lots of adventures around Scotland. The children of Scotland adore her and Maisie even has her own bus. I lived in Fitzroy (Melbourne) before we moved to Scotland, and I thought ‘Why don’t I write a story about a dog from Fitzroy?’ so I did. Well it wasn’t that simple. It has taken lots of hard work and lots of encouragement from family and friends (especially my wonderful husband and my lovely mum).
While living in Scotland, I was also very blessed to meet Jennifer Bruce. She was running workshops on using the right brain to improve drawing skills, which I signed up for. I also received private tuition with Jen who helped me produce some initial illustrations of Fitzy Fox, which really helped to develop the character and the story further. When I got back to Melbourne and started the publishing process with Little Steps, given Jennifer is such an amazing artist and already knew Fitzy Fox so well, I knew when it came to finding a professional illustrator that she would be perfect.
And Jennifer and I along with Jessica at Little Steps Publishing have created something we are all really proud of!
Now, I am working on some more adventures for Fitzy Fox. He has some cousins on the farm, who I think he might pay a visit to. I wonder what they’ll all get up to?
I grew up in Dunblane in Scotland. I loved reading and drawing when I was young. I wrote stories and drew pictures to go with them. I particularly liked drawing animals.
After I finished school, I went to art college in Dundee where I learned more about drawing and design. When I graduated, I worked as a jeweller and a creative skills instructor in a hospital as well as a drawing tutor.
I first heard about Fitzy Fox when Amelia came to my drawing class in Edinburgh and told me she had written a story about a fox terrier. I was very impressed that Amelia had put so much work into creating a children’s book and helped her to create the initial illustrations.
Who is Fitzy Fox? is the first book I have illustrated and I have had great fun creating the character of Fitzy Fox and drawing the places in Melbourne and London that he visits and the other characters that he meets.
I started by making very quick sketches of what I thought Fitzy Fox would look like and looked at lots of photos of fox terriers. I also sketched out a design for each page after I had read over the story many times. I noted down ideas I had and things that I wanted to include.
The final illustrations emerged from these initial sketches and developed with help from Amelia and Little Steps. I hope you’ll enjoy them.