I grew up in England and the US, and then lived in Sydney, Australia for more than 20 years, working as a book, magazine and web editor and writer. I’ve more than two decades of publishing experience and am the former editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine.
I had always written – terrible poetry, short stories and angst-ridden diaries – and have an enduring love of books and stories. I remember being so hungry for words that I would scour the cereal packets over breakfast and prowl my parents’ bookshelves in search of something new to read.
At boarding school, I read my way through the junior library before being given special permission to read from the senior library – and went from pony books to Solzhenitsyn and John Wyndham. Discovering Jilly Cooper is one of the abiding happy moments of my teenage years.
Ironically, when I changed jobs, it was almost always in pursuit of more writing, until finally I gathered my courage and began to write fiction.
I am the author of Rose’s Vintage (2016), and Angel’s Share (2017), both set in the lush vineyards of the imaginary Shingle Valley.
Rose’s Vintage and Angel’s Share are both available as audio books on Audible. Both books have also been published in Germany by Piper Verlag, and Rose’s Vintage has been published in Poland.
My new book, The Botanist’s Daughter, is a novel set in Cornwall, Chile and Sydney, and will be published by Hachette in July 2018, as well as later in Germany and Spain.
It was inspired by a beautiful sundial in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney – I touched the raised metal surface and it was if a lightning bolt had struck me. I immediately had a vision of a similar sundial in an English country garden and walked around in a daze for the rest of the afternoon as I pondered what it meant. I’ve always loved flowers and their names and origins and botanical illustration. I’m also fascinated by the medicinal properties of plants and I love the idea of physic (healing) gardens. So, writing a story about the search for a powerful plant and about plantswomen and artists was a dream.
I believe that stories circulate in the ether and if you are receptive, they will tap you on the shoulder and start whispering in your ear. The writer’s job is then to do the story justice.
I now live in the Northern Rivers of NSW and am also a mother to two girls. When not writing, reading or ferrying them around I can be found in the kitchen, procrasti-baking.
I love nothing more than a generous slice of warm cake, a cup of tea, a comfortable place to sit and a good book to read!
“The riveting story of two women, divided by a century in time, but united by their quest to discover a rare and dangerous flower said to have the power to heal as well as kill. Fast-moving and full of surprises, The Botanist’s Daughter brings the exotic world of 19th century Chile thrillingly to life.”
“I loved The Botanist’s Daughter. I was transported to the 1880s and Chile, to contemporary Sydney and Kew. A gripping, warm-hearted read.”