Today marks 20 years since my first piece of writing was published, which, quite frankly, is terrifying.

I was 12 years old and in Grade 6 when I was selected to take part in a ‘Newshounds’ program run by our local paper, the Maroondah Mail. Four students from local schools were chosen to write one article per week for six weeks, under the supervision of a journalist.

Newspaper articles
My ‘Newshounds’ articles in the Maroondah Mail, Oct-Dec 1996

Newspaper articles

I’d always loved writing, but this was the first time I’d seen my name in print, and the feeling has never really left me. It was this experience that started a passion for professional writing and, although I’ve moved away from straight journalism, I’ve continued to publish. Including Greythorne, I now have 114 publications to my name (1 novel, 3 academic book chapters, 4 academic book reviews, 5 academic journal articles, 11 conference papers and 63 media articles – details here). I hope to make it 115 by the end of the year, with the upcoming release of my new non-fiction book, Communications for Volunteers: Low-cost strategies for community groups. The little girl who wrote those Newshounds articles can hardly believe it.

Incidentally, in the first Newshounds article introducing myself, I note that my favourite books are The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, All in the Blue Unclouded Weather by Robin Klein, and Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. All three remain favourites, and I was especially excited to meet Isobelle Carmody at the Canberra Writers Festival in August this year, where we got talking and I gave her a copy of Greythorne (which she asked me to sign!). I won’t lie – my inner 12 -year-old completely fangirled. I like to think I hid it well, but I suspect I didn’t.

With Isobelle Carmody at the 2016 Canberra Writers Festival.

So anyway, it’s been a bumper two decades. Who knows what the next two will bring?


So I’ve now got a launch date for Greythorne – Fri 27 November, 6pm, at Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka, Canberra (more info available on my Facebook page,

I guess the only thing to do now is actually organise it, which is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. There’s so much information out there about how to throw a successful book launch, but a lot of it seems geared to much bigger operations (and budgets) than mine – people who are promoting NYT bestsellers in New York, not debut novels in Canberra, which, despite being the capital city, is essentially a big country town.

And so I’m asking for your help – what do you think (as fellow readers and/or writers) makes a successful book launch? Theme or no theme? Giveaways (bearing in mind I’m on a pretty tight budget)? Any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Please let me know in the comments.