I grew up in country New South Wales in a time when running under the sprinkler in your knickers without a jot of sunscreen was the norm for a six year old. I thought trips to the local library were akin to an adventure and I loved coming home with a stack of books. I loved reading them all. I loved the pictures, I loved the humour, I loved the twist at the end. However, I was sad when many of them seemed to be over too quickly. So when the librarian introduced me to the coloured dot system I found books just right for me: green dots equalled big kids books!
As the sprinkler runs changed to costume-clad trips to the swimming pool, then to ‘Reef’ sun tan coconut oil slathered on teenaged legs, the green dotted books gave way to books with no dots and then to the Wildfire teen romance series. Oh, how I loved that these teenaged protagonists understood exactly how I felt. I loved that they had their passions such as horse riding or ice skating, because I had mine too – dancing – and I loved how they knew what it was like to pine for the cute boy in class.
After finishing high school I moved to Sydney to study dance further and then won auditions which saw me travelling to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and France. I lived in Paris for a year while dancing at the Moulin Rouge and was determined to improve my HSC French. I spoke as much French as possible, watched countless re-runs of Little House on the Prairie and bought Mills and Boon books. While the books greatly expanded my vocabulary in the area of breathing, sighing, touching and kissing I found it difficult to work this vocabulary into everyday parlance – even in the city of love!
I lived in a sweet studio apartment and would look out of my window and yearn to write about this but every attempt had me stopping before I started as I could never do justice to the amazing city and wrote little more than aerograms to friends and relatives.
At the end of the year I returned to Australia, started a family and earned dance teaching qualifications. I took my children to swimming lessons, covering them in sunscreen, rash vests and hats, opened my dance school and read hundreds of romances. My children are now grown, I continue to run my school and I read romances. I’ve also turned my hand to writing romance and I might finally manage to put elements of Paris in a novel.
I feel a research trip calling…