I used to think that once my children were off my hands and leading their own lives that I would have so much spare time I would be able to indulge in all the fun things that I hadn’t previously had time to do, but for some reason my life seems to get more and more hectic. I think I forgot to factor in the demands of elderly parents and the overwhelming needs of voluntary organisations.

So it was with horror that I realised I hadn’t added to this News page for over a year! Where did that time go?

I’ve finally finished writing Grievous Harm. It’s been a bumpy trip, with organising WriteFest (the writers festival I mentioned earlier), and travelling to Emerald, Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville and Innisfail to present workshops to writers taking up great chunks of my time. I love presenting writing workshops, particularly in regional areas – it’s great to be able to hand on the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to people who are not able to attend workshops in capital cities. My suitcase is always a lot lighter on my return journey as I hand out lots of information sheets during the workshop. I believe that you can’t remember everything that’s presented in such a full day and having comprehensive notes to refer to later ensures you get value for your workshop fees.

Grievous Harm has caused some interesting problems, research wise. I’ve had to learn about bush survival skills, bucking bulls, computer viruses, and just a wee bit about physics. I always try to be practical in my research, although it’s not always possible. But I recently had reason to research how much water a condom will hold. I filled a 2 litre bottle and my husband poured that slowly into a condom as I unwound it. We probably could have got it to hold 3 litres but at 2 litres it was just possible to tie a slip knot in the top so the water couldn’t come out but it could still be opened again.

I left the condom, which now resembled a huge, floppy jellyfish, on the kitchen bench while I went back to my writing. My husband decided to try to see how it would behave if it were jostled around a fair bit. Well, he certainly found out. The knot slipped open and water poured everywhere. As we mopped up, I explained to him that my characters weren’t going to play with the makeshift water container, but use it to save their lives.

My main characters, John Corey and Kate Maclaren, have had to learn a lot about themselves and how their pasts have created barriers that are being chipped away by the horrors they encounter and the trials they have to endure. There are some scenes readers might feel apprehensive about, but I had to write them – life doesn’t offer us pleasant choices only.

My sixth book, Fatal Flaw, will be published in Germany in 2009. The cover is quite dramatic and very “Australian”, and it will go up on my website closer to publication date.