There’s something very odd about this house...
From the moment Ellen arrives, she can feel something stirring in the old house. It's almost as if it's alive. Is there a ghost, as the kids at her new school say? Or is it something stranger? And why is there a tower with no door?
When the dried-up fountain in the overgrown garden suddenly spouts water and weird messages appear, Ellen must find her way into the mysterious, magical and dangerous world that has been waiting for her...
Where were you born?
Where do you live now?
Where did you go to school?
Our Lady of Grace, North Beach, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Karrinyup and Siena Girls College (now Newman College), Doubleview
Did you have a nickname?
What were you like in school?
What is the naughtiest thing you did?
In primary school, my friend and I used to ask to be excused a few minutes apart, meet in the toilets and spend up to 20 minutes chatting. We were so surprised when we realised the teacher knew what we were up to!
What was your favourite book growing up?
The Famous Five series, of course.
Who is your favourite children’s author?
You mean, apart from me? Do I really have to choose? Emily Rodda, Quentin Blake, Jan Ormerod, Bob Graham, Enid Blyton, E. Nesbitt, Dr Seuss...
What is your favourite food/colour/movie?
Food: Roast potatoes
Movie: Charlotte's Web (look out for the second teacher — that's me!)
Who inspired you to write?
My mother and my daughter
How did you get started?
In the old-fashioned way — with a pen and paper
How old were you?
Why did you want to be a writer?
I love creating a whole world from nothing and hoping that a reader might just become lost in it.
How do you think up ideas?
I usually start with an idea of the place I want to write about — a dusty bookshop, a holiday island, a dilapidated house. That's the seed and everything grows from there.
Do you have a special place where you write?
Where I can see the garden when I look up.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Staying in your pyjamas all day, if you want to!
Have you had any funny or embarrassing moments as a writer?
Going to check the mailbox at 3pm while still in my pyjamas and not realising the school up the road had just come out. Caught out!
What do you do when you are not writing?
I'm an actress too so sometimes I do that. And I love to travel. I'm off to see a volcano soon. Wish me luck!
What would you have chosen to be if you were not a writer?
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Shakespeare — although I fear, forsooth, we'd have trouble understanding each other.