I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with magical and mystical things, of monsters and witches and creatures of the paranormal.
When I was six years old, I wrote a very short story in class about a magical walking, talking tree that was selected to be read out in front of the other kids. Another story a week later about a teen werewolf (guess what I’d been watching on the weekend) didn’t quite resonate with the teacher – and I think she was more than a little concerned about my viewing matter. However, that was just part of an overall fascination with all things gothic that started at a very young age.
My favourite computer game at the time was called Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts (on a Commodore 64) and any books, fiction or non-fiction, that had to do with the paranormal were quickly gobbled up. (Yet, strangely, I’ve got a bit of an aversion to horror movies ever since my cousin made me watch House at the age of five – though I see now that the film is actually categorised as a comedy/horror film. Didn’t seem so funny back then.)
High school was much the same, tucking into a rather unwavering diet of fantasy series by David Eddings, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and Sara Douglass, among others. All the while writing my own short stories that invariably involved a whole bunch of teenage turmoil.
My first real vampire read was The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice, which I picked up in the airport just before going to Italy on a school trip. Venice features strongly in the book and we went there, spotting the Bridge of Sighs and standing in the Piazza San Marco. From that first book, I was hooked on Rice’s vampires and sunk my teeth into anything I could get, carrying me all the way into university.
There I studied creative writing and journalism, though only taking the journalism units because I thought I’d be able to make a living with it while pursuing my own fiction writing.
I wrote a lot of vampire fiction in those days, including one a friend lovingly refers to as the “exploding lesbian vampire story”.
And the best thing was the literature and cultural studies units I took seemed particularly suited for discussing the merits of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and its coded reading of homosexuality in fin-de-siecle London. In the end I wrote an honours thesis on vampires, specifically on Armand, which gives my obsession a lovely cyclical tone.
After university, I worked for a zoo as a professional writer, among other things. A great job, one I worked at for eight years, before my partner and I took off to Toronto, Canada, for two years while he completes a fellowship in radiology.
It was while in Toronto that my first book, Beckoning Blood, was picked up for publication by Escape Publishing, a digital-first imprint of Harlequin Australia. I started writing Beckoning Blood in November 2009 as part of NaNoWriMo. I finished it in January 2010 then took an age to edit it into something workable, including rewriting the whole last third. It needed it.
Over the next few years, I received some interest from publishers though no one ready to take the full bite of the cherry until I submitted to Escape. While not initially accepted, some feedback from the Managing Editor, Kate Cuthbert, and a bit of a rewrite of the opening later, I woke up one August morning (in Quebec City) to an email including an offer of acceptance. Stoked doesn’t even begin to describe it. Beckoning Blood was released in May 2014, with the sequel due for release on 22 May 2015.
When I’m not writing my own work, I write and edit for various organisations in a range of industries from environmental conservation to personal fitness and luxury travel. I’m also a keen photographer, website designer, graphic designer and traveller.
If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winner 2012 Passionate Ink Stroke of Midnight contest for paranormal/time travel.