Which people influenced you to start writing? The most important person in my writing career was Mr Witherspoon, my Year 3 primary teacher. He gave me the key to the book cupboard and told me I could write.
What’s the hardest part of your job? Letting the story tell itself rather than yelling at it. This never works. The story goes off into a corner and sulks. I do a lot of cooking and craft waiting for it to come back to me.
What’s the best part of your job? Finishing the book and seeing that it all works. I just want to kiss it.
What was the best thing about writing this book? The illustrations. They are wonderful. I had everything I wanted to say in five hundred words. This isn’t as easy as it looks. Longer books are easier.
What material did you draw from to write this book? The National War Museum in Canberra has letters, stories and pictures.
Where do you like to work? In my office with my cat. She supervises my work assiduously.
Which five people would you like to have over for dinner? Elizabeth I, Eleanor of Aquitaine, my great-great-grandmother Rowlands who came out from Wales to live in Victoria, Charles Dickens and PG Wodehouse. It would be a jolly evening.
What is something that most people might be surprised to know about you? I had a junior pilot’s license, and I almost never hit anything with my aeroplane.
What else would you like to write a book about? Troubadours, especially Bernat de Ventadorn. And William Marshal (the greatest knight in the world) and Eleanor who adopted him.
What are you working on next? A new Corinna Chapman. It’s about a missing dog.
Read my review of ‘Gallipoli’ here.