Leaving behind everything we knew in the cities of England and Australia, we moved our family to rural Tasmania before it was fashionable to do so, and set ourselves up on five acres. The adventures of our first five years became the material for my first memoir, Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania. … More Saddleback Wife – more slow living in Tasmania
I read numerous brilliant books researching Sissinghurst Castle Gardens and its creators Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. Here are ten random things I learned, and some I just thought about. As I read about the demise of wildlife in England since the dawning of the industrial age, it made me wonder what differences Vita and … More Ten things I learned while researching Sissinghurst and Vita Sackville-West
Do your short stories consistently fail to hit the mark in competitions? When judging the Tasmanian Short Story competition, I found that many entries fell into the same classic traps, falling short of the mark and sending them to the bottom of the slush pile immediately. Here are my two top tips on how to … More How to begin a short story
I wanted to do something a little different. We were asked to write a short piece introducing ourselves, for the second unit in my Masters of Creative Writing with Deakin University. So I ‘rang Martin Amis’ and had him interview me as we stood on the rooftops, he in Paris in the 1970s, and myself … More Martin Amis helps you get to know me
We’re at home today with one child, two from tomorrow. Obviously English is one subject I feel a bit qualified to help mine with. So here’s the first assignment I’m setting my year eleven daughter. It’s based on the film Love Actually, which we’ve watched a few times recently in an effort to keep cheerful. … More Home schooling questions on the film 'Love Actually'
It’s been a turbulent week. Oliver, my Other Half, always says you have to take the rough with the smooth, or as he puts it, the “ultra-smoove”. Once an Essex boy, always an Essex boy. On the upside, Apple Island Wife, the book, the birth, the long-awaited tome, is designed, blurbed, raising its head above … More Launch day for Apple Island Wife!
Early this year I had one of those ‘oh shit’ moments which I’ve since learned is commonplace in a freelance writer’s life, when you realise that you haven’t actually got any work. Writing a book is quite an undertaking and since late last year I had been working with my publisher on the structural edit … More Writing life and the side hustle
During the long silence, I have not been kicking back on an eastern shore with a plate of oysters (only for a week in the summer). No, I’ve been channelling Dalton Trumbo and hard at work, as pictured, on the structural edit of my book, Apple Island Wife. Just before Christmas, the manuscript went off to … More Apple Island Wife goes to edit
I’m a creature of habit, when I’m writing and when I’m not. Every day I have the same breakfast, the same snacks, and morning coffee at the same time. No thinking is required, it’s fuel. My new snack of choice is Vegan Bliss Balls. They’re nutty and sugar free, as required by my doctor. Sometimes … More What food in fiction
Author Fiona Stocker today won the approval of her livestock for her tales of rural living. ‘She knows great literature when she hears it, that pig,’ said Stocker, pictured on her ranch with Bettina, the Berkshire sow. ‘I don’t know what she’s on about,’ Bettina was quoted as saying later. ‘I only came out of … More Crowdfunding Apple Island Wife