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Zara Quentin

Dreamer. Lover of books, travel, coffee and dark chocolate. Young adult fantasy author. Creator of the Airwoman series. 

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

ZQ Writing AirwomanWhen 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.

Homeward Bound

Three kids and more than 18 countries later, we moved back to Australia, settling in Melbourne after a short stint in my hometown of Adelaide. After being gone for almost a decade, I’m happy to be back, surrounded by family and friends.

Although the new worlds I’ve created in my books are unlike any that I’ve ever encountered, finding my way as a writer has definitely felt like coming home. 

Quentin's skill at creating memorable characters that I truly cared about, as well as an entirely original "Dragonverse" absolutely drew me in and kept me engaged from page one.

M. Hughes