A year ago…

I’ve been writing in my five year diary for just over 18 months now. It’s interesting to look back to last year to see what was so important to me at that point. It helps to keep some perspective.

A year ago I was working on a story called Mimi Gets Away with Murder. At the time it felt really important to work on it as much as possible.

A year ago the border 400m north of my house was closed separating me from family and friends.

A year ago our business was limping along through rolling lock downs as we waited for the population to get immunised.

Now we’re so swamped. But I am not complaining.

As I write this, I am sitting in a beautiful bed and breakfast in Launceston, Tasmania. My nephew Luke picked me up from the airport because my flight was delayed, meaning I couldn’t pick up my hire car.


A year ago, I wasn’t permitted to drive to Brisbane to catch a flight let alone come to Tasmania.

We only look back to remind ourselves how far we’ve come and to nudge ourselves back into gratitude.

According to my five-year diary, a year ago, today, I found out I had shortlisted in a big competition. I was hoping for a call today… Perhaps tomorrow… fingers crossed! But hey, what will be, will be.

What is mine will come to me, what is not meant for me will never touch me.

Until a year ago today, I hadn’t won or listed in a competition.

I hadn’t facilitated a workshop on World Building for 40+ writers.

I hadn’t hosted and judged a short story competition with 52 entries.

A year ago I hadn’t started writing my current work in progress (working title: Homecoming) but now I’m on the 4th draft of an 86,000 word manuscript.

A year ago I hadn’t completed the Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction Masterclass. I hadn’t met my new writers’ group in Brissie. I hadn’t met the marvelous bunch of writers who made up my Masterclass cohort.

I hadn’t been invited to a writers’ festival to be on a panel with Meg Bignell to talk about my winning short story, How I got this Tattoo. But I have now.

What a difference a year makes!

They say you should never meet your idols but I met Jane Harper (The Dry, Force of Nature) last week, and she was so generous with her time. I took my thrice-read copy of The Dry for her to sign and we had a brief chat about her Sisters in Crime Davitt Award from a few years back.

She very kindly said she liked the name of my short-listed story from last year, Death of a Show Princess. Perhaps I should be pitching it under that name?

Was she just being polite?

Argh! Maybe she was just being polite.

Meet your idols and hope for the best. Don’t expect too much, don’t be weird. Be respectful.

Okay, at least I didn’t take a copy of one of my books to give to her like someone I know. How very, very cringe.

Don’t ever do this.

There is only so much reading time available for anyone let alone an author on tour. Oh, and the space in their luggage. I guarantee that hefty paperback found its way to the charity bin or the little library in the publicist’s hotel.

Look, the authors I know are very choosy about what they read. They do love chocolate, though. If you want to take a present, give them chocolate or booze if you’re absolutely sure they’ll appreciate it. For example, Lindt Vegan chocolate or Brookies Sloe Gin…

Make no mistake, this is still a very odd thing to do if you don’t know them well.

At a pinch, you could give them something thematically tied to their latest book. For example, a woman recently gifted Fiona McIntosh a pair of handmade earrings in the shape of her latest novel, which is lovely.

Or just, you know, buy a copy of ONE OF THEIR BOOKS for them TO SIGN.

The hallway of the lovely Dragonfly Inn


  1. cherbomb

    Daré I say… What a difference a year makes? Thanks for the perspective. It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished in a year. I love your discipline to journal in your diary and the insight it gives you. Wish I could.
    Enjoy all the accolades coming your way in Tassie! Won’t be long and a fan will ask for your autograph.

Comments are closed.