Pursuing thieves, murderers, adulterers and philanderers through the ages is just an average day in my world. Like Dr Who, I hunt ordinary individuals who unwittingly had such an extraordinary impact on their world that the consequences changed the course of history.
To pursue these villains, I hunt through the historical records, following even the tiniest of leads in an attempt to follow their trails. I am the history detective, addicted to the thrill of the hunt, to finding the crucial clues that allow me to determine history's truths despite the records' seeming determination to thwart me.
Then I become a crime-writer, telling the stories of these rogues – their true stories – in such a vivid and exciting way that reviewers and readers say my books are "as gripping as thrillers". Woven through these stories are the historical and social backdrops for each period, which is an easy and interesting way of learning about history – a more enjoyable way than reading dry history books. As one reader said, "I learnt all about history ... whether I wanted to or not!"
My passion, indeed my vision, is to entertain and to educate – as discussed in About Me – that is, to research and write and to help others do the same. If you have an interest in the same areas, I can provide instruction through my seminars and "how to" books and blog posts and other educational tools.
So read my website, enjoy my books, and consider the ways in which I can help you through my teaching strategies. Hopefully you too will be entertained, educated ... and inspired.
The History Detective newsletter
New books being published, seminars offered, free books: The History Detective newsletter will keep you informed. Additionally, whenever I have a new book published, a name will be randomly picked from my email mailing list for a free copy of the book. My mailing list allows me to keep you informed about the publication of my books, about talks I am giving, to offer tips about researching, writing and self-publishing, to suggest great books to read, and to communicate anything else of relevance (for further information, see my Blog post). So click here to have your name added to the mailing list. If you have found my seminars and books enjoyable and useful, feel free to add a testimonial that I can add to my website.
Brief guide to information on this website:
These days I write and speak full time. My main genre is called narrative non-fiction or "popular history", and all of my books are shown below. The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable will be published internationally in September/October 2013. My other books can be purchased through good bookshops or via the Orders page. For further information about each book (including the blurb, prologue and reviews for the published books), click on the titles or images below.
And there's more ...
My fifth book, The Lucretia Borgia of Botany Bay, will be published by Allen & Unwin in September 2014. It tells the story of Louisa Collins, the last woman executed in NSW.
"How to" and other educational and informational books
My first "how to" book Writing Interesting Family Histories was published in 2009, and updated in 2010. Copies can be ordered through the Orders page. More "how to" books are in the pipeline ... when I have time to write them (hopefully late 2013 or early 2014)! This year Unlock the Past is publishing two Convict Ship guidebooks covering the years 1788-1812 that I prepared some years ago – more details to follow.
Seminars and webinars and other learning opportunities
With my passion for teaching, I am going to increase the number of seminars I am giving and start doing webinars. Go to my Talks and Webinars pages for further information. You can also go to my Calendar for a quick guide to dates of talks, webinars, and the publication of books.
I am publishing two different blogs on this website: a personal blog and a family history blog. The personal blog is to keep people updated with my writing and speaking ventures. You will learn about books being published, talks and webinars to be given, and so on. My family history blog is a teaching tool, to assist researchers with information about genealogical principles and practices.
14 May 2013: First History Detective newsletter published. Click here to access.
12 Mar 2013: Free Books. Go to my blog to find out how you can be in the draw for a free copy of any of my new books.
10 Mar 2013: Title at last for my international book: The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: a True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit.
11 Feb 2013: Great cruise. Lovely group. A most enjoyable time had by all. I could have done with a week afterwards to recover, though!
29 Jan 2013: Unlock the Past cruise late next week. Looking forward to meeting attendees and other speakers.
20 Jan 2013: I now have titles and descriptions of 45 talks/seminars/workshops on my Talks page.
17 Dec 2012: The year 2012 was officially the worst year in the publishing industry so I am incredibly lucky to have received two publishing contracts!
22 Oct 2012: Major career change. I am now writing full-time. How exciting! See Blog post.
18 Aug 2012: And another book contract for my recently completed manuscript - to be published in UK/US/AUS next year! See Blog post.
20 Jul 2012: Allen & Unwin is "delighted" to publish my next proposed work of narrative non-fiction. Now I need to write it! See Blog post.
19 Jul 2012: A draft programme is now available for the genealogy cruise. Click here.
6 Jul 2012: I've just heard that my Thunderbolt book has been longlisted for the Davitt Awards (awards for women crime writers).
Mar 2012: I have been invited as a guest speaker on the 3rd Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. Yippee!
Feb 2012: Exposing an Expose: Fact versus Fiction in the resurrection of Captain Thunderbolt (which I co-wrote with Dr David Roberts) has just been published in the international Journal of Australian Studies.
Sep 2011: My latest book, Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady: the true story of bushrangers Frederick Ward and Mary Ann Bugg, is now available in bookstores.
Mar 2011: I have been appointed an adjunct lecturer at the University of New England (Armidale).
Jan 2011: My Thunderbolt manuscript is finished at last! Now for the huge edit process before publication later this year.