Brief Author Bytes J-Q!



James Moloney is one of Australia’s best-known writers for children and young adults, primarily in the speculative fiction/fantasy genre such as the Silvermay trilogy. He was born in Sydney on 20 September 1954, but grew up in Brisbane where he lives today with his wife and children.

Jim trained as a teacher and in 1983 married and began work at Marist College, Ashgrove (an all-boys school in Brisbane). During his fifteen years there Jim became interested in writing for young people. In 1992, after quite a few rejections, the first of his novels, Crossfire, was published and in 1997 his fifth novel for young adults, A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove won the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award. At the end of that year Jim decided to leave teaching to become a full-time writer and went on to write some 40 books.

Jim’s first novel for adults, The Tower Mill, was released in September 2012 by the University of Queensland Press and was inspired by real events that took place in 1971 when the South African Rugby team came to Brisbane on a sporting tour. In South Africa, apartheid was making life a misery for the native people and the many human rights violations caused outrage around the world. Angry demonstrators decided to march in the streets of Brisbane and show the Springboks team what they thought of the SA regime.

Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen was not one to take this disgraceful outburst of the demon democracy lying down and insisted when he fed the chooks (as Joh described talking to the media) that nobody was going to get away with doing that sort of thing in his State, by Crikey. Joh had declared his stance on human rights: ‘What’s the ordinary man in the street got to do with it?’

Near the Tower Mill, a building dating from Brisbane’s days as a convict settlement, demonstrators and police met head on. In The Tower Mill, Susan Kinnane is caught up in the melee and an incident occurs that will reverberate through the life of Susan and her son Tom for the next thirty years.

Books: Tower Mill (Adult fiction 2012) – visit Author's commentary about motivations and themes behind The Tower Mill, and for more on his nearly forty books for children and young adults including The Book of Lies, and the recent Silvermay Trilogy: Book 1 Silvermay, Book 2 Tamlyn, Book 3 Lucien, visit James Moloney’s website at



Di Morrissey was born on 18 March 1948 in Wingham in the Manning Valley, NSW and at the age of five moved to Pittwater, Sydney. In those days a large number of bohemian characters lived in the area, such as the poet Dorothea Mackeller of My Country fame, and the Australian actor Chips Rafferty, both of whom encouraged Di’s creativity.

When Di’s father and brother died suddenly, her mother’s sister encouraged them to join her in Los Angeles. In LA Di’s mother studied television, which was then still a novelty, and after a year they returned to Australia where Di’s mother made a name for herself in the Australian Film and Television industry.

Di started her career as a copy girl at Australian Consolidated Press headquarters in Sydney and convinced the Chief of Staff to give her a cadetship. After four years of training as journalist, during which time she learned the research and writing skills which later informed her novels, she headed for London and worked for the next four years in Fleet Street for the Daily Mail group where she became Women’s Editor.

On her way back to Australia, Di renewed her acquaintance with Peter Morrissey, then an American Peace Corps worker on holidays in Singapore, and two weeks later they were engaged. After they married they lived in Honolulu where Di worked as a TV presenter for the CBS affiliate. When Peter joined the State Department, the couple spent the next twelve years travelling between Washington DC and foreign postings in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Guyana.

Despite this adventurous life, Di missed Australia dreadfully and still wanted to write. She returned to Australia and in Sydney joined Network Ten’s Good Morning Australia, Australia’s first current affairs breakfast TV show, and tried to write in her spare time. In addition to her radio broadcasting, Di wrote for TV, film and theatre and also directed and produced films, TV programs and commercials. 

A literary agent friend suggested that a treatment that Di had written for a TV series would be better turned into a book. Di made the decision to resign from GMA and moved north to Byron Bay to begin working on the book. Heart of the Dreaming, released in 1991, was a phenomenal success and was followed by twenty best sellers in twenty years, plus the children’s book Buster and the Queen Bee.

Initially Di wrote about Australians in Australia but then realised that Australians lived and worked in many parts of the world and began to set her stories in more exotic locations. These days Di lives and works in Byron Bay, but she always visits the places where she plans to set her books, talking to the locals, and immersing herself in the history, culture and ambience.

Di’s latest novel The Golden Land tells the story of Natalie, a young Gold Coast mother, who finds a box containing a Burmese artefact when helping her mother move house. A letter left to her by a great-great uncle makes Natalie curious about the curio’s country of origin, but her investigations lead her into a moral minefield which threatens her marriage as she becomes entangled in two very different golden lands.

There is a Talking Heads interview with Di at Talking Heads transcript and you can also visit her website at

Books:Kimberley Sun, The Bay, Blaze, Buster and the Queen Bee, Barra Creek, Scatter the Stars, Heart of the Dreaming, The Last Rose of Summer, The Reef, Follow the Morning Star, The Last Mile Home, Tears of the Moon, When the Singing Stops, The Songmaster, The Valley, Monsoon, The Islands, The Silent Country, The Plantation, The Opal Desert, The Golden Land (Nov 2012).



Mystery/crime writer Kate Morton is the eldest of three sisters. She was born in South Australia and moved house several times before her family finally settled on Tamborine Mountain in southeast Queensland. As a child she attended a very small country school and spent a great deal of her time inventing stories and playing at make-believe games with her sisters.

‘When I was small, I always hid to read. I couldn’t shake the feeling that because reading was so pleasurable, it must somehow be illicit.’ – Kate Morton interviewed in the Courier-Mail, 14 February 2009.

Kate later acquired degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature, and settled down to write. The Shifting Fog (also known as The House at Riverton in the UK and the US), was Kate’s debut novel. It became an international sensation and bestseller around the world when it was published in 2006, with over one million copies sold globally. The Forgotten Garden followed in 2008 and The Distant Hours in 2010, both of which were very well received. In 2012, Kate published her latest book The Secret Keeper

Currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland, Kate lives with her husband and young son in Brisbane, and coping with it all isn’t easy given the demands of her success. In May and June 2011 Kate travelled to Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Spain and the UK and in October and November 2012 she toured the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Just when she thought she’d stopped moving.

Visit Kate Morton’s website at Here you can drop her note, or maybe write to her at PO Box 5012, Paddington, Qld, 4064, Australia. There is also information relating to her tour dates, books, and endorsements as well as book club requests. You can listen to an interview with Kate on the ABC’s website at

Books: The Shifting Fog (2006): It is 1914 and Great Britain is at war. Some years later, in the summer of 1924, a young poet takes his life by the lake of a grand English country house on the eve of a glittering society party. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, never speak to each other again.

In the winter of 1999, a young director making a film about the poet’s suicide visits Grace Bradley, once a housemaid at Riverton Manor and now ninety-eight years old. As Grace’s long suppressed memories begin to surface, a shocking secret threatens to emerge. Set against the background of an Edwardian summer shattered by war and drifting into the decadent twenties, The Shifting Fog is both a compelling love story and a thrilling mystery.

The Forgotten Garden (2008):On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her but she then disappeared without trace. On the evening of her twenty-first birthday, Nell O’Connor learns a terrible secret and, decades later, her search for the truth leads her to beautiful Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.

When Nell dies, her granddaughter Cassandra inherits Cliff cottage and its forgotten garden, which Cornish locals believe holds secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, author of dark Victorian fairytales. Cassandra sets out to uncover the truth about the family and solve the century-old mystery of a lost little girl.

The Distant Hours (2010): Edie Burchill and her mother had never been close, but when a long-lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. Edie’s mother had been evacuated from London as a thirteen-year-old and chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family; Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond, author of a 1918 children’s classic, The True History of the Mud Man.

Fifty years later, Edie pursues the answers to her mother’s riddle and she too is drawn to the eccentric Sisters Blythe, old ladies now and still living together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose fiancé’s abandonment in 1941 reputedly caused her madness.

The Secret Keeper (2012): On a sweltering hot summer’s day in 1961, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy and an imminent move to London, while her family picnics by the stream on their farm in Suffolk. The future looks bright, but before the afternoon is over Laurel witnesses a shocking crime that changes everything.

By 2011 Laurel has become a much-loved actress, but she is so haunted by what she saw that day that she feels compelled to return to the family home to try and piece together a history of mystery, secrets, murder and enduring love. This is a tale of three strangers, all from very different worlds, who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fatally entwined.



Caroline Overington was born in 1970 and grew up in Melton, Victoria. She attended Melton South Primary School and Melton High School, after which she began her journalism cadetship with The Age Suburban Newspapers. She became a sports writer with The Age and covered two Olympic and Paralympic games.

In 2002 Caroline moved to New York to become a foreign correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. When she returned to Australia, Caroline became a senior journalist with News Ltd working at The Australian. She has now been a prize-winning journalist and foreign correspondent for almost 20 years.

Caroline is the author of two non-fiction books: Only in New York and Kickback, which won the Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature. She has twice won a Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism; along with Malcolm Knox, in 2004 Caroline won a Walkley Award for their Norma Khouri investigation. In 2009, she published her first novel Ghost Child to great acclaim.

Caroline’s second novel I Came to Say Goodbye went to a third printing and was the Australian Women’s Weekly Book of the Month in October 2010. The Australian Council also selected it as one of the ‘Fifty Books You Can’t Put Down.’ Bookseller and Publisher said: ‘Caroline Overington’s second novel proves her as an author whose following is destined to grow in leaps and bounds. Jam-packed with family issues, it’s a gripping blockbuster that booksellers can recommend unreservedly – and especially to book clubs.’

Caroline feels that her years of experience covering criminal cases has helped her to write her most recent book Sisters of Mercy. She lives in Bondi, Sydney, with her husband and their young twins. You can visit Caroline’s website at

Books – Non-fiction: Only in New York: How I took Manhattan (with the kids) published by Allen & Unwin in 2006, Kickback: Inside the Australian Wheat Board Scandal published by Allen & Unwin in 2007.

Books – Novels: Ghost Child: In 1982 Victorian police are called to a home on a housing estate an hour west of Melbourne, where they find a five-year-old boy lying on the carpet with no obvious signs of trauma. After the child, Jacob, dies the next day, the boy’s mother and her boyfriend are arrested, tried and convicted of his murder. But were they the real perpetrators or was it Jacob’s six-year-old sister Lauren. Twenty years later the mystery unravels.

I Came to Say Goodbye: It is four o’clock in the morning and a young woman pushes through hospital doors and walks into the nursery. She picks up a sleeping baby girl, places her gently in a shopping bag and walks out to a car park towards an old Corolla. CCTV footage catches her as she clips the infant into the car, gets in and drives off. That is where the CCTV footage ends and the furore begins. A nightmarish account follows of what happens when bureaucracy goes mad and the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) deals with children born to a mentally disturbed young woman and her family.

Matilda is Missing: Garry Hartshorn and Softie Monaghan were never love’s young dream, but Softie’s body clock was ticking and Garry wanted children, so they got married and produced the only thing they ever had in common, Matilda. Two years later their daughter is at the centre of a bitter custody battle but before the hearings are completed Matilda and her mother disappear. A dying Family Court judge approaches his friend, a grandfather whose own son is going through a divorce, and tells him that he has made a dreadful mistake in Matilda’s case, and asks him to right the wrong.

Sisters of Mercy (2012). In this novel Snow Delaney is in prison and wants to tell her story. Snow had recently discovered that she had a sister, Agnes. But a few short weeks later Agnes disappeared.