I wrote this novel at a breathtaking pace being more than aware my older daughter, Suzanne, was waiting for each chapter to be completed. She really wanted a room of her own, I wrote a book for her instead.
A few months before I began writing the book we had bought a five foot stuffed crocodile at an auction (it is now illegal to buy and sell stuffed animals), and the animal, called 147, became a plot-turning feature in the book. A few years ago the crocodile went for a holiday to Endeavour Seafoods, here in Mackay, where it was on display with a friend, a freshwater crocodile. Endeavour Seafoods has now closed and 147, after a brief period in my office at work where he unnerved a variety of colleagues, and upon whom I constantly hit my head when going through my filing cabinet, is now back at home.
147 now lives on my freezer where several bells dangle from his open jaws. He is constantly alert but is kept in check by two Buddhas close by.
The Secret of the Tower Room is set in Mackay, and many of the primary schools, both state and private, have used it as part of their social studies. I have given frequent talks to schoolchildren about the book, and about writing. School students make wonderful audiences, they hang on every word, their questions are many and varied, and their enthusiasm never wavers.