about

me

Hello, sugar. This is me, doing what I love best—hanging out with boys in bookshops. Ha!

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I’m a bestselling and critically acclaimed author of about twenty books to date. I love every one of those books and feel so proud every time I look at them.

I’m published by two of the best publishers in the world, HarperCollins, and Penguin/ Random House. I have thousands of readers and there are loads of fantastic kids who write to me regularly—one of my favourite jobs is answering fan mail. I get to use lots of Kikki K stickers and pretty paper and washi tape and…

Life wasn’t always so peachy.

I was lost for many years. I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. I worked in the public service. A shoe shop. A garage. I went nursing and goofed around in various operating theatres pretending I was Hot Lips from Mash.

In my thirties I got married, moved to Queensland and tried to play wife. But eight months after my son was born, my husband changed his mind about family life. He left no forwarding address.

I was in shock for months. I was a new mum in a new city, few friends, no immediate family nearby, no job. I threw myself into spirituality and self help books. For a time they were my only solace. (Apart from my gorgeous boy, of course!)

Eventually I went to the doctor for a routine postnatal check-up. Everything was fine. Physically. But as I was leaving, literally as I was walking out the door, the doctor said, ‘Are you sure you’re okay?’

I burst into tears.

That doctor was so kind. She organised for me to do ten weeks of psychotherapy via a government-assisted programme. It was a huge turning point.

The psychologist was an angel. Not only that, she was a funny, inspiring, enthusiastic angel that believed in me. She saw my potential. She encouraged me to follow my dreams of getting a tertiary education and developing my creativity. We spent our final session talking about Apple Mac computers. After that, we both knew I’d be okay!

I got into my little car and I drove back across Australia from Brisbane to Melbourne—a three-day journey when it’s just you and a toddler.

I found a flat and enrolled in university as a mature aged student (holy schizzle).

For the next six years I studied Literature and Film Studies while working part-time as a nanny—and an ironing lady. Can you imagine? LOL.

Along the way I took self-development classes. Read mountains of books including The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron—which kind of cracked my heart open.

In 1999, a week or two after I graduated, more serendipity kicked in. I had $500 left in the bank and was gearing up to take a job in a pharmaceutical company. I had a snazzy grey suit, a white shirt and everything.

But the universe would have none of it.

Out of the blue I was offered work experience at a boutique children’s publisher here in Melbourne.

It was a game changer. I was plunged headlong into the colourful, playful, crazy world of children’s literature.

I learned to write, edit, direct photo shoots, develop amazing projects, clean toilets and swear like a trooper…

Nearly two decades later I’m in the best place of all. The place where I have something wonderful to share—knowledge, experience, inspiration and, of course, loads of giggles.

Thank you for dropping by.

I hope you’ll become a local.

Jen xo

banner1ps

 

 

duckandchair

Subscribe here to receive regular girl and duck newsletters and a new Creative Writing video every Friday. It’s free!