It was the bleak heart of the Howard years, and the height of the Children Overboard affair, when I first encountered the story of Edward Cole. I was immediately struck by the energy and flair of a man who led a life unconstrained by convention or public opinion.
Primarily I think you need a lot of self confidence to be a professional writer, especially if your work is not immediately marketable. This is a thing which had always been a problem for me: publishers would love my work, but wouldn't know what way to market it, and so would pass.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and how do you do it?
I grew up in Launceston, in the north of Tasmania, with my parents, three older brothers, a retired racehorse called Chief and a dog called Jock.
It has taken me ten years to write When We Have Wings though I did have a few years off during the process. When I began I had no idea how difficult were the technical challenges I'd set myself.
Rather than concentrate too much on the technical side of writing, I spend as much time as I can in feeding my imagination. I look at things, I listen to conversations, I read books, I cook, I find out how to build things, I talk to people, I learn things that I will never use.
I knew I would write about travel one day.
You've always wanted to write a novel. Yet every time to sit down to write it, you are distracted by an overwhelming compulsion to clean the oven, phone your mother or feed the dog.