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TRAVELLING THE ROADS OF LIFE

How often life imitates art for me. Back in 2015, I wrote the first draft of my MG novel Harriet and the Secret Librarian. It was released in 2018. The book begins with my protagonist, Harriet, resting at home after a foot injury. She is trying to manage on crutches and having difficulty, becoming completely frustrated. I sympathise totally with Harriet, who is largely based on me as an 11-year-old. Currently, I have a double ankle fracture, and am no good on crutches. Among other things, the storyline involves Harriet and her mum seeing a news report about a library in a fictional north NSW coastal town getting flooded and losing 80% of their books. Harriet loves a good cause, and is encouraged to donate books to the library. I have just been reading about Lismore library losing their books and looking for donations, which I would like to do when I can. Life definitely imitates art and never fails to amaze me.

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CHANGES AND CHALLENGES

2023 has been both a difficult and aspiring year. Difficult in that I experienced a personal tragedy in February. I kept writing as a focus to navigate my grief.

Aspiring in that I have had 2 short stories accepted for anthologies. The first one, I Used to Be An Animal Lover, is due for release on the 1st of May. Within that collection, I have a story titled Jackson and the Jam, a rather fun Paul Jennings-inspired story about a boy and his dog. Jackson was a young boy who assisted me with a breakfast club I ran at a school in 2017-2019. One day he asked if I would write a story about him and his love for his absolute favourite snack, toast and jam. I set out to write the story way back in 2019. It's been through several critiques and changes but was finally edited in 2022 and ready to find a home. I sent it to The School Magazine, but they could not find a place for it. It was accepted by author D.A. Cairns for the collection that he has currently prepared. There are a number of interesting and quirky stories from writers around the globe, and I feel privileged to have this tale (tail?) accepted along with these other authors. Looking forward to the release.

At the same time, I am working on my next Ah-Fur, Super-Sleuth chapter book, and have started to write the 4th adventure in The Harriet Series. This one will involve shipwrecks and time travel to historical properties. The last one was released in September 2019, so it has been a while.

I find inspiration in many places, including news items that pop up, and real-life experiences, which are often too good not to use.

It's a great brain workout writing-a workout that helps stave off inertia and keeps the mind active. I hope to do it for as long as I can, without getting AI to write for me!

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