I grew up in the Oratia Valley, a rural fruit-growing district on the road to the west coast beaches of Auckland, New Zealand. I spent my childhood in the family orchard, picking fruit, playing on my bike, making cubbies in the packing shed loft and dreaming about the characters in the books piled high next to my bed.
In spring, masses of pink and white apple, peach and plum blossoms stretched over the hills as far as I could see. When the wind blew, blossoms snowed over us and I would run through the rows of fruit trees with my arms outstretched.
My favourite escape was to curl up with a book under one of the apple trees or take my sketch pad down to the creek, hoping that Mum didn't find me and give me a job.
When I grew up I became a teacher of language and travelled around the world (twice being awarded a travelling scholarship to Germany.) I taught primary and high school German in Melbourne and the Gold Coast for many many years.
After returning from a family trip to Europe in 2006 I re-kindled my passion for drawing and writing. It's what I love.
Today I live with my family in a similar valley in southeast Queensland, Australia. There are no longer blossoms outside my study window, but a family of Tawny Frogmouths nest in our gum tree every year.
"I like to be in the orchard under the coolness of the trees with a pad and pencils sketching my surroundings. The best part of the orchard is a little corner below the first hill where the creek passes by and the ferns are as green as a paddock of grass. You can hear the birds singing as the little fantails fly around in the stillness. And if you are lucky you might even see a pheasant fly out of the grass."
Angela, 9 years - School Journal.