Sometimes ideas come from experience: the things that have happened in my life or things I have seen happen to others. I wrote and illustrated Lovely Lunch after snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. I saw lots of bright tropical fish and beautiful coral. I wanted to illustrate a book with these things in it. When I got back home I borrowed fish books from the library and read about fish and how they live. Later I wrote the first draft of the book, Looks Like Lunch, which later became Lovely Lunch

 When I was young….

Sometimes thinking about what I did and how I felt as a child gives me ideas for stories.

When I was in high school I remember wanting to fit in. It was important to have the right hairstyle, wear the right kind of shoes and act like the popular kids..

I remember thinking later that maybe it’s more important to just be yourself …then if people wanted to be your friend, you’d know it was because they liked you, not the person you were trying to imitate.

This gave me the idea for the story, Arthur, an ordinary brown dog who tries to be like other popular animals so that someone will buy him.

Words, words, words!

Words are fun to play with…some sound good out loud, some rhyme, some have rhythm, some get together and suggest stories.

When I wrote The Tricky Truck Track I started by writing down all the words I could think of that had ‘ck’ in them. Then I juggled them around in my head to see if they would come together to make a story…they did.

Joan’s Goat, The Queen Can’t Sleep, Bill’s Bull, Here Comes the Sun and The Flying King all started from groups of similar-sounding words too.

Half asleep

Sometimes story ideas can simply pop into your head for no apparent reason. For me, this usually happens in those ‘half-asleep’ times, just as I am about to go to sleep or when I am lying in bed in the morning thinking about getting up (or sleeping in for a little longer).

 Truth and Imagination

Many of stories are a good mix of truth and imagination. A real event or experience might be the spark. A writer then uses imagination to create a story that readers will enjoy and not want to put down until the very end.

Picasso the green tree frog is a mixture of truth and imagination. One day a friend showed me his new pet, a green tree frog called Picasso. I thought this frog would make a great character for a children’s book. I researched green tree frogs and found out they could change colours depending on their surroundings. (They do this to hide from predators that might eat them for dinner.)

I used my imagination to write an adventure for this multicoloured creature.