Jacqueline lives in the far north of Queensland, Australia, on the shores of the Coral Sea. She has a house built for the tropical climate�on tall stilts and with walls that open to let the breeze blow through.
She settled in Australia after living with her husband in many countries and cultures, and her travels have given her a fund of stories and locations she uses in her stories. We do not know exactly how far her stories come from her imagination, and how much from experience. She will not tell us but if you visit her website and ask nicely, she might tell you.
Jacqueline writes romantic stories because she is an unrepentant romantic at heart. In a world that is drowning in poverty and violence, she tries to hold up a cheerful light and make everyone's life a little happier. That is a big job, but it is fun to make the attempt and, who knows, it might just work.
When she is not writing, she is kept busy by her garden which is still maturing. Right now her coconut trees look young and scrappy, but come back in five years and they will be towering over the house. And what could be more romantic than a coconut palm?
Q: I've always longed to visit your country. Please tell us what it's like to live on the shores of the Coral Sea in Far North Queensland?
A: Warm, of course! When my husband, left the oil industry we looked for somewhere with coconut palms (meaning it is never too cold); somewhere in the country but not too far from civilization; and somewhere small but big enough. Cooktown is wonderful�1500 souls and big enough for a mini-mart, 3 pubs and a library. We have bush on one side and a warm sea on the other. And the nearest traffic signals (traffic lights in Aussie) are more than 200 miles away. Lots of wildlife with kangaroos in the garden most days. Lots of snakes, but we don't see them too often. The crocodiles are a BIG negative, meaning you can't swim in the rivers at all, and you need to be careful on the beach as well. The Great Barrier Reef is only 20 minutes away by boat and that is one of the places you must see before you die.
Q: What are the different countries you visited? What were the new favorite foods you found while traveling?
A: If you travel and stay in international hotels, the food is pretty standard. Not too much concession to country, although pork is taboo in some places. As I was normally living with the locals, I got a chance to try lots of things. Overall, I die for the various spicy foods of Malaysia and Indonesia, but most places have some interesting things. Cous-cous in North Africa, viande fumee in Montreal, meze in Mediterranean Turkey, the wines and cheeses in France, huevos rancheros in a farmers' diner in rural Texas. You're making me feel hungry! And the worst food? Sorry, but country Australia wins hands down. Our idea of a good meal is a factory made pie and a can of coke.
Q: What is your typical day like?
A: As for everyone, I have the normal amount of house managing to do. Except ironing. Ironing is just masochism in a climate where everything is moist and limp as soon as you put it on. Once that is done, I can write.
When I need a break, I find time to ride my push bike over the hill into the village several times a week. We have an open air cafe at the mouth of the Endeavour River that does the most wonderful iced coffee. It also acts as an informal meeting place for lazy locals like me, especially at the time of year when it is too hot for tourists.
In Cooktown we are at the end of the road, literally, and everyone turns their hand to whatever is necessary. We finished building our house a year ago. It's a very open building on tall stilts and surrounded by nascent coconut palms. The centre of the house is a our living area, and it is completely open to the weather from both sides (but we have foul weather shutters). Although it is finished, there is still a lot of work to be done, outside especially.
Q: What do you do to relax and find enjoyment when you're not writing?
A: The only club I'm a member of is the Hash House Harriers, and they don't have a membership. Every Monday evening, 20 or 30 of us get together to go for a run (or walk if you prefer) on a trail laid through the bush by a host. Then we go back to the host's house for beer and a feed. The Hash is an international organization and we get frequent visitors from around the world. It is also a good place to meet a wide range of folk you would not normally come across.
Apart from that, we both enjoy riding our push bikes and walking. We really enjoy visiting the bright lights of Cairns every month or two, going to proper restaurants and catching a film. And shopping, of course. But one or two nights of city life is enough!
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