Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bio culling

This is the first of my two days left at home in April, so I am in full list-ticking mode, otherwise known as hyperventilating.  My main project today, apart from the vital business of getting my hair cut and my legs waxed, is to supply all the missing content for my new website.  The design is agreed, but now I have to scan in 45 covers, provide urls just in case anyone feels like buying a book, and rewrite my biography.

I tackled this the other day. When I was looking at other authors’ bios, I came across Anne Gracie’s, and really liked seeing her old pictures and reading about the experiences that had made her a writer, so in shamelessly copycat mode I did the same and had a lovely time going through all my old photo albums. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as restrained as Anne and got a bit carried away.  When I sent it to the designer, he very tactfully suggested it might be “a bit too long maybe”  (subtext: for God’s sake, woman, who’s going to be interested in this?) so I must cull a good 1000 words today. 

It does seem a shame to waste all that scanning, though, so while I was scratching my head about what to blog about in my brief stop at home, I thought I would shove up some of the pictures that won’t make it onto the website.  Look away now if you have a low boredom threshold!

My first memories are of Africa, which is perhaps why I ended up with incurably itchy feet.  This is me simpering with my father at Qolora Mouth in South Africa in 1964. 

My first trip to Australia (spot the clue) in 1968, aged 9, en route to PNG. The start of an enduring love affair with the country, even though it was winter, and I didn't make it to the outback until much later.

And here I am back on that side of the world in my gap year, 1977, with my cousin Jenny.  We spent four months in New Zealand, including several weeks cooking on a sheep station so remote you had to fly in, or get on a horse and ride across a river.  We did get pretty sick of mutton by the end of our time there but it was such fun.  I remember laughing the whole time. In fact, I’m wondering now why I’ve never written a book set in NZ ... maybe it’s just too long ago. Sigh.

Ah, well.  That’s enough nostalgia.  I need to get on. Picture me scan, scan, scanning for the rest of the day.  I’m off to Wales on Saturday, home on Sunday, and Scotland on Monday for a couple of weeks, but I will be taking my laptop and endeavouring to do some work while I’m there, so I’ll try and keep the blog updated at the same time.   


  1. Hi Jessica,
    I love people's old photos and agree that Anne Gracie's site is wonderful. You see all her interests and her childhood turn up eventually in her books. Your's looks just as interesting from those few photos. Maybe everyone's childhood looks more interesting than one's own?

  2. I think there's something in that, Louise. A bit like imagining that everyone else is prettier/funnier/cleverer/more confident/knows everyone at a party etc etc etc ...

    I've just finished my scanning and feel sure there's a blog about some of those terrible covers in there somewhere. It did make me remember how many of my experiences, like Anne's, have ended up in one book or another. Duke, the horse I'm riding in the photo above, got a mention in Woman at Willagong Creek, I seem to remember!

  3. You've had such an exciting life, Jessica! Thanks for sharing your memories and photos :)