Largely set in Malaysia, The Concubine’s Child was my debut novel for adults. Decades of annual visits to stay with my husband’s family, have given me an extended view of life in this culturally diverse nation, especially in the Chinese community. My second novel, The Boy With Blue Trousers, continues my interest in the Chinese diaspora but this time in 19th-century Australia, when many thousands of people from southern China made the long journey to Australia in search of gold.
I was born far away from Malaysia, in Brisbane, Australia, but have lived most of my life in Melbourne. I taught English and Drama in secondary schools before working as an editor of children’s magazines. I have been a full-time author since 1999 and am the author of several young adult novels as well as children’s fiction and non-fiction. Married with two twenty-something children, I live in a city apartment overlooking the water in Melbourne.
I am represented by the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency in London, UK.
Advice for Writers
Writing gives you the freedom to go where your imagination takes you and to take others with you on that journey. Like any occupation, it takes time and practice. I believe in the theory of 10 000 hours. If you want to be a published writer, then you will need to put in the hours. Don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. Keep writing. Learn all you can from others. Think of your writing as a job and ask what you need to do to progress.
I have been writing for more than thirty years. Sometimes the publication side of my career has gone well, at other times it has been deeply disappointing. Nevertheless, I hope I am always getting better as a writer because I keep working at it. Ideas don’t strike like lightning. I have to make my own inspiration through research, brainstorming ideas, travel and I am always reading other writers whom I admire, hoping some of their brilliance will rub off!