Online Literature Festival

I’m excited to be part of this year’s Queensland Online Literature Festival (22 Aug-9 Sep).  The festival is an amazing opportunity for school kids from all over Queensland to hear from some of Australia’s best authors. Thirty writers are involved this year and you can connect with them whether you’re in Boulia, Biloela or Brisbane (or anywhere in between).

My slot is 10.30am on Tuesday August 30. It’s a very special day because it’s also my son’s 18th birthday!

I’ll be talking about where I got the ideas for my Hazard River adventure series for young readers and the inspiration for my Choose Your Own Ever After stories. I’ll also share how you can get ideas for your stories.


Dymocks Brisbane is offering FREE SHIPPING on book orders as part of the Online Literature Festival. Contact them on 07 3007 2800 or to place your order.

If your school would like to be involved you can register on the Queensland Government site here.  (Only Queensland schools can register).

Other great writers and illustrators on the program include Pamela Rushby (pictured above), Michael Gerard Bauer (pictured at top of page), Samantha Wheeler (pictured at top), Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton,  Tristan Bancks, Jack Heath and Dave Hackett.

Hope to see you on the 30th!


Central Queensland Literary Festival

I’m all talked out after a week with a brilliant bunch writers and illustrators at the Central Queensland Literary Festival – sharing stories with clever students and aspiring novelists by day, by night debating lofty ideas like: Can the Broncos beat the Eels? (It turns out they certainly can!)

Rockhampton put on perfect winter weather for the creative invasion, which meant that in between workshops, we absolutely had to visit Great Keppel Island. The trip turned into more of an adventure than an outing when we missed our ferry and had to hail a speed boat, but who’s complaining when the sun is out and there’s a stunning beach at the end of the journey.

The week also included a visit to the beautiful Botanic Gardens, a fantastic steak at the Criterion Hotel and a self-guided tour of Rockhampton’s bull statues.

Love you Rocky!



Ready for anything (even high-school students): Justin D’Ath, Meredith Costain, Robert Favretto, Julie Fison, Pamela Rushby, Michael Gerard Bauer, Royce Bond.

Photo credit: Marjory Gardner

MIA: Paul Collins and Elaine Ouston

Very much missed: Kevin Burgemeestre

A great big thanks to Elaine Ouston of Morris Publishing and Ford Street Publishing’s Paul Collins for inviting me to be part of this year’s festival and to the staff and students of St Peter’s Catholic Primary, St Paul’s Catholic Primary and Emmaus College for making us welcome. Loved sharing stories with you!

Thanks also to the supremely helpful staff at Freedom Fast Cats and the amazing managers of Apartments on Palmer.

Hope to see you soon!


Getting creative on the Scenic Rim

I’ve read the research: hanging out in nature reduces stress levels, enhances creativity,  improves intelligence and even makes you a nicer person. So after three days of stomping through muddy gullies, tramping up mountain tracks and following black cockatoos on Queensland’s spectacular Scenic Rim, my latest story should basically write itself.

As for the impact of all of that delicious food I consumed while enjoying nature – I’m still looking for appropriate research to support my theory, but I’d say: it’s got to be a bonus.

I’ll let you know!

Walking, eating and snapping the view at Spicers Peak Lodge, Scenic Rim.


How to get to Rick

Ta da!

Copies of Como ficar com Rick – the Brazilian version of How to get to Rio have just arrived and don’t they look delicious. The book is part of the Choose Your Own Ever After series which lets you decide how the story goes.


Como ficar com Rick by Julie FisonComo ficar com RickIn Como ficar com Rick  Kitty Maclean has to choose between going camping with her two best friends or visiting a chic beach resort with popular-girl Persephone. And who knows, she might bump into the very cute,  Rick, at Paradise Point.

What would you choose?

Buy Como ficar com Rick at all good Brazilian bookstores. Suitable for readers aged 10+.


This calls for a book tour to Rio!









Voices (and amazing sunsets) on the Coast

Julie Fison, Voices on the Coast 2016Thirty writers, illustrators and performers, 75 schools, 4000 students, teachers, volunteers, storms, howling winds, misplaced authors, missing cars, laughs, tears and an unforgettable sunset – that was this week’s Voices on the Coast.

And I loved being part of it.

It was so much fun sharing stories with students and hanging out with a heap of amazing authors. I laughed at Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher’s

Comic improvisers, Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher, taking care of baby.
Comic improvisers, Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher, taking care of baby.

hilarious improvisation, and shed tears at Philip Wilcox’s poignant poetry. I loved Gregg Dreise’s didgeridoo performance and was touched by Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs‘, sincere words on writing.

Now, I return to my desk a little fatigued but  enriched by the incredible creative buzz of the festival.

Sunrise at Alex Heads
Sunrise at Alex Heads


The sky is on fire at Alex Heads.
The sky is on fire at Alex Heads.

Thank you to my gorgeous Immanuel Lutheran College introducers and the clever media crew for keeping my talks and workshops running smoothly and to the super-talented Samantha Wheeler for being such a great roomie at our comfy beachside digs – the Mirage, Alexandra Headlands.

Philip Wilcox, Australian Poetry Slam champion
Philip Wilcox, Australian Poetry Slam champion

A massive congratulations to coordinator Kelly Dunham on a wonderfully successful youth literature festival. You are a legend!

I look forward to seeing you again on the Sunshine Coast soon!

The full line-up for Voices on the Coast 2016:  (Some didn’t make the photo but I’ll let you work out who was there and who wasn’t!) Deborah Abela, Christine Bongers, Janeen Brian, Peter Carnavas, Gary Crew, Shelley Davidow, Gregg Dreise, Kirsty Eagar, Brain Falker, Fleur Ferris, Julie Fison, Serena Geddes, Leigh Hobbs, Dean Jacobs, Andrew King, Sarah Kinsella, Russell Fletcher, Jan Latta, Rebecca Lim, Lynette Noni, James Phelan, Darrell Pitt, Leila Rudge, Katryna Starks, Ellen van Neervan, Nova Weetman, Samantha Wheeler, Philip Wilcox, Lesley Williams, Tammy Williams and Kelly Dunham (Festival Coordinator).Voices on the Coast 2016


Halcyon Daze

Sumptuously decorated walls have never been on my list of must-haves for a beach holiday hotel, but after a night at Halcyon House on the Tweed Coast, I’m thinking I might need to rewrite my list.

Halcyon House
The 21-room boutique hotel is a white and indigo gem nestled among the pandanus palms, midway between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, forged from a 60s surf-side motel and oozing laid-back luxury. With its dreamy fabrics, eclectic art collection and retro charm, it is the most instagramable hotel in Australia, and proof that Besser bricks can be beautiful. Who knew?

Halcyon House, Cabarita BeachI’m smitten the moment I see it. We arrive at the Cabarita Beach hotel after an afternoon competing with the crowds at Byron Bay. Halcyon House is a welcome oasis. The white façade is vivid against the bright blue sky – chic without being imposing or pretentious. The vibe continues throughout the hotel with décor by Anna Spiro that’s stunningly stylish, but relaxed.

The hotel also makes the most of its location – on the doorstep of the Tweed Coast’s most beautiful beach. Cabarita still has an old-fashioned feel about it and has mostly avoided the attention of developers and hipsters, making it a favourite of mine. If you want a view of the beach, you need to be on the top floor as the hotel sits behind the sand dune, and the view is obscured by pandanus palms. Our room looks across the perfect point break to Norries Headland – a great place for a morning shuffle. I’m so in love with everything in the room as well as the view that I want to move in and finish my latest novel here. (I won’t be a bother, I promise).

And then there’s the food.

Halcyon HouseMy first taste of what is to come from the kitchen arrives in a waffle cone. The hotel serves ice creams at 4pm every afternoon. I wait patiently along with a few kids for my promised treat, naively expecting a Magnum. What is delivered is a tiny piece of heaven – home made goat’s milk ice cream topped with a hot lemon meringue. Divine.

Cabarita Beach, Tweed CoastThe delights continue with dinner at Paper Daisy – soft shell bay lobster in its own sauce, followed by coal-roasted fish with finger lime dressing. I opt for the signature dish for my main meal – paper bark grilled fish with onion, seaweed and beach plants. Chef Ben Devlin is a genius. Everything is extraordinary.

There’s no space for dessert (because I’ve already had an ice cream) but I’ll make sure I leave some room on my next visit.

Halcyon days, indeed.

Books for Easter, too

IMG_8600A big thank you to my friend and fellow writer, Sherryl Caulfield for a wonderful Easter gift – a copy of her new novel, Come Full Circle. The story is the third in the Iceberg Trilogy and promises a raw conclusion to the series, as a woman goes on a journey discover the missing pieces of her life. Congratulations on your latest achievement, Sherryl. Can’t wait to get stuck into it!

Big congrats also to my former neighbour and long-time friend, the mega-talented artist, Megan Forward, who’s just about to launch her first picture book  A Patch from Scratch. 

9780670078295_HIJesse and Lewis want to grow their own fruit and vegies, just like people do on a farm. They’re going to dig and build, plant and grow, and when they’re finished they’re going to have a feast!

Looking forward to catching up with Megan and seeing her work at Avid Reader!

I’m also excited about the Queensland launch of Rich & Rare – a collection of short stories and illustrations from almost 50 great Australian writers and artists. The book includes pieces from Michael Gerard Bauer, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath, Scot Gardner, Kerry Greenwood, Libby Hathorn, Leigh Hobbs, Sofie Laguna, Kirsty Murray, James Roy, Shaun Tan and Gabrielle Wang. I have a story of intrigue in the cane fields of North Queensland, called Sugar is Sweet in the collection.

RIch and Rare short stories and artworkAustralia’s favourite author, (and that’s official) Isobelle Carmody will be doing the honours at the State Library event, while James Moloney will be launching Isobelle’s new book –  Alyzon Whitestarr. The event is free, but if you want to come along, you need to register right away here.  

Hope to see you there!






Author of children's and YA fiction


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