My Debut Novel: Airwoman
Jade Gariq is the daughter of a respected Taraqan leader, and the heiress to Gariq Industries—a large, cross-Portal trading company. Her future appears to be set.
Except for one thing: It’s a life that she doesn’t want.
Jade has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force—the elite Taraqans who traverse the Betwixt, filled with terrifying beasts, and who protect and patrol the Dragonverse. Despite having been Travellers themselves once, Jade’s parents remain vehemently against risking their only daughter’s life. When Jade’s father dies suddenly, she inherits Gariq Industries, its assets, trade deals and social responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Axel—her close friend and secret crush—disappears without a trace. Then Jade discovers the circumstances surrounding her father’s death are not what they seem— her uncle Zorman suspects foul play. To find the truth and avenge her father’s death, Jade travels to an uncharted world, where she will learn more about her family, herself, loyalty, and betrayal than she ever imagined…
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Young Adult Fantasy Author
How globetrotting inspired me to create a world of my own.
Born in Adelaide, Australia, I’ve always had a strong sense of adventure. It’s something I’ve inherited from my parents, who took my younger sister and I on trips as children to the U.S., Europe, and Asia. During those travels, I discovered the world was a colourful place and I was eager to see more of it.
As a child, I also explored new places on my own through fantasy novels. I’d turn the black and white text on the page into the same colourful worlds I’d visited and those I had yet to see.
Finding My Way
Years later, after graduating from high school, I went on to study law and arts at the University of Adelaide. As part of my law degree, I spent a year in France at the University of Poitiers. I made new friends, learned French and backpacked around Europe in the summer. I enjoyed roaming the streets, taking in the different cities through its street performers, historical sites, and architecture.
On the way home from Europe, I stayed in southern Africa for a month, camping outside during wet season, which definitely lived up to its name. Although my gear and I were often soaked, my spirit was never dampened and my love for travel continued to grow.
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
After graduating from law with an honours thesis in international criminal law, I went to Canberra to work for the Australian Government, where I discovered that I enjoyed human resources more than practicing law. I loved to analyze people, perhaps the same trait that would one day inspire me to create my own cast of characters.
While in Canberra, I also had another life-changing event: I met my husband. We got married a couple of years later and flew to England for our honeymoon, which became an extended working holiday. I worked in Heathrow for an airline, recruiting flight attendants. During our time off, my husband and I would plan trips throughout Europe and beyond — hiking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and visiting Machu Picchu in Peru. During that time, I also started writing fiction again. My writings were mostly unfinished scenes that I struggled to organize into chapters or a structure of any kind. I only knew that I wanted to share this world that I had created with others, but I wasn’t quite sure how.
Building A Family — And A Storyline
When I became pregnant, my husband and I moved back to Australia. I went to work for the Victorian Government. After giving birth to our first child, I went on maternity leave and continued to write until I went back to work part-time.
As our family continued to grow, so did my desire to write. It wasn’t until we had our second child, however, that I began to take that passion seriously. Writing became an outlet that allowed me to have my own sense of identity outside of motherhood. I then stumbled upon Larry Brooks’ teachings on story structure and it really opened my eyes to the art of storytelling. Discovering that all novels had an organised structure made it not only seem possible for me to write a novel, but also to finish one.
My husband’s work then took us from Melbourne to Auckland, New Zealand, for a couple of years, where we had our third child. I’d never imagined we would live in New Zealand, but it was a friendly and beautiful place. We loved living there and took advantage of it by taking weekend trips to see more of the countryside.
Three kids and more than 18 countries later, we now reside back in my hometown of Adelaide. After being gone for almost a decade, I’m happy to be home, surrounded by family and friends. It only seems fitting that this is also the year that I’ve committed to finishing my debut fantasy novel.
Although this new world is unlike any that I’ve ever encountered, finding my way as a writer has definitely felt like coming home.
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