Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes, but I also wanted to do other things like be a pilot and be a teacher.
What do you enjoy about being a writer?
Creating something. Playing with language. Taking an idea that you think might work and seeing it through to a finished work. I love not having to go to work! I love staying in jeans and ugg boots all day!
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere - sometimes things my kids or other members of the family have done. Sometimes books come from firmly held political or social views but always with a belief that characters, not issues, are the heart of the story.
How long does it take you to write a picture book?
How long is a piece of string? 'Cuddletime' took a few hours.
'I am Thomas' took nine years! Many take a few months but also all those years of apprenticeship.
Tell us about your latest picture book 'Look A Book'.
Look a book began as a story about how to look after a book. The very minimal text inspired Freya Blackwood to burst forth and create fabulous, fantastic pictures. She's a marvellous illustrator.
Where is your favourite place to write?
At my desk looking over the garden.
What makes you passionate about writing?
I'm hooked on story.
Can you please describe a typical day for you?
It's hard because so many are not typical. If it's a writing day I may sit down after the coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald and write till lunch time. Then I take a break and I sometimes get back to writing but I may end up answering emails or doing my tax or something like that. Often I go to meetings of the different boards or committees that I am on.
What's your secret to making the character's in your books come to life?
What advice do you give aspiring authors?
Read, read and read some more. And write lots.