I write books for young people along with essays, the odd news feature, the occasional poem and short stories. Besides playing in a forge and messing about with steel, I've worked in the arts for the past two decades.
Surf Ache was written partly because I love surfing and wanted to share some of the joy and terror and challenge of the whole mad thing, and partly because I was interested in how young people cope with the big changes that life throws in the way. The Colour of Trouble is all about art and crime and that itch to be infamous. I had an awesome art teacher when I was at school and I really wanted to write a book about that art room and the important part it played in my life.
I went to art school with a wildly talented illustrator called Shane Westernhagen and when I started writing I knew it would be great to collaborate with him. His work was full of incredible narrative - a cluster of stories in one drawing. So I told him I had an idea for a book. But his was way better. He came to me with a story about a boy who passes out from a bluebottle sting and winds up under the water. Now one of my favourite books when I was a kid was The Waterbabies so I threw my idea out the window and embraced the joy of Vinni!
I live in Newcastle, NSW, a beautiful and surf mad city perched on the coast two and a half hours north of Sydney. Check it out at The Design Files. We used to think it was a big old secret until Lonely Planet listed it as one of the top ten cities to visit in the world. Now you have to come visit!
I answered 'ten terrifying questions' on the Booktopia blog... and gave a Ted talk about being a Novice….