I’ve always loved to write. Reading and writing were my two biggest passions. When we started traveling, I started sending all these emails, these long emails back to friends and family. I was telling them where we were and what we were doing; they were essentially blogs before there were blogs. I feel sorry now for anyone who was on that list of emails because they were so long, and filled with so many photos, that I don’t know how the email was even sent without being blocked for exceeding the file size limit. It got to a point where my parents said; you’re spending a lot of time writing individually to everyone, why don’t you just create a place where everyone can come and read the stories? That was how my blog was born, Interesting Time Traveler. Before we started traveling, I’d always written creative writing and different fantasy stories, and now I was exploring writing nonfiction, in the sense that I was writing our stories.
I didn’t do any creative writing until one experience. We were in Morocco, at the high Atlas Mountains, and a very close friend of ours, who we had only ever met via Skype before, said, I’m right across the sea, just a ferry ride from you in Spain; why don’t you come visit? And we thought you know what, why not? So we went, and I got to visit him, and it was in Andalusia, where he lived in Spain, and for me, it was the most magical experience, because he had this dog called Fuko, and it was as if, and I kid you not, it was as if this dog had its own life. It was going off wherever it wanted to go, and coming back at crazy hours of the night, and my 10-year-old imagination at that time though, oh, my gosh, what if the reason why he’s doing all this is because he’s the guardian of this of this valley, and he has this immense power to protect it and keep the balance between the forces of the earth and the dream, which is this mystical land that holds the key to the origins of all stories. That was actually my experience in the Aboriginal lands filtering through. After three days, when we left Spain, I had this idea for this story that I just could not put down, and on the ferry ride back, I already started writing it. It evolved into today’s DAWN OF THE GUARDIAN, which is my debut fantasy fiction adventure novel.
At the time, I was 12. Our next stop was Budapest in Hungary, and I spent nine months writing this story, which I had no idea what it was going to be, if I wanted it to be a book or not, but I spent nine months writing it, every day, for 10 hours. At the end, I was left with this 400-page novel. My parents’ reaction was, what do you want to do with this now? I left it for a little while, and we walked the Camino Trail in Spain. We did the North route, this 800-kilometer walk, which is along the coast. It was during that I realized this was a first draft. I want to go back; I want to make it into a story that I would love to read. I always loved fantasy adventure fiction, and that was something that I wanted to create a story that I would be happy to read. So I went back and re-edited. It took me about four months.
Just after we returned to Australia, I published the book with my parents and my godmother, who was this incredible graphic designer and Illustrator. She did all the illustrations for the book. We spent another six months working on it, and we self-published it. I’d received this offer of publication, it was from this great publishing house, and they said, we love your book, we’ll publish it, but because of where we are at the moment, you’re going to have to do all the marketing. At that point, my parents and I thought, well, if we have to do all the marketing, which is a really integral part of releasing a book into the world, we might as well publish it ourselves, and that’s the start of the whole journey we embarked upon of becoming self-publishers. We launched the book in Melbourne, Australia, nearly four years ago now, and that was the beginning. We then embarked on this 18-month book tour, which took us all around the States and Canada, England, Scotland, Mexico, and then all the way to Hungry, which is where the book was published in Hungarian. It was translated and published by the largest publishing company there, who also has this huge bookstore chain, so they were able to distribute it, which was really, really incredible. Then it’s the beginning of a trilogy. I’m in the process, and I’ve nearly finished the second one; the third one will be along the way, so that has been my writing journey over the last four years.