The year 2016 has been the most topsy-turvy of my forty-three years. I will probably write a memoir about it in ten years’ time. So much going on personally that I am still digesting. Which is why the launch of my first novel, The Birdman’s Wife has brought me such joy. I’m humbled, honoured and more than a little bit excited that The Birdman’s Wife, the story of Elizabeth Gould, the pioneering 19th century ornithological illustrator and wife of John Gould, the ‘birdman’ has been received with such warm and open arms.
The Birdman’s Wife has been long-listed for the Indie Booksellers’ 2017 Book Awards, in the debut fiction category, with a host of excellent Australian first-time fiction authors. I had the pleasure to feature on a panel in the Newtown Festival’s writers’ tent with the down-to-earth Holly Throsby, author of Goodwood and the entertaining Liam Peiper, author of The Toymaker, whose books have both shortlisted in the same category. They sat to my left, and to my right sat the gracious Sean Rabin, who like me, has had a double-decade journey to publishing his first novel: Wood Green. And it’s all worth it, Wood Green has been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.
Thanks to everyone on my team who made The Birdman’s Wife happen: Bronwyn Lea, Melissa Harper, Carole Ferrier, Lyn Tranter, Fiona Henderson, Martin Hughes, Ruby Ashby-Orr, Emma Rusher, Vikki Lambert, Inga Simpson, Avid Reader and Brett Dionysius, for your expertise and faith. It’s been an incredible team effort!
I’m finally in the space, mentally, after a whirl-wind two months, to dive into my new project, an historical novel loosely based on the scandalous life of Marie Catherine d’Aulnoy, a 17th century author of fairy tales, memoir, fiction and novels. But first I’m going to enjoy a week’s holiday with my family at Coolum beach.
Enjoy the year’s wind down everyone; I’m looking forward to an exciting 2017, filled to bursting with scintillating reading and frustrating and ecstatic writing.