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You Can't Escape
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Fiona McArthur
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I'm the spoiled only daughter and grew up on my parent's diet of weekend escapism. Apart from Modesty Blaise books, Dick Francis novels and Mills & Boon, Mum and Dad believed in doing the fun things in life on a shoestring. As kids, when we turned a responsible age (eight) my brother had his first car and I had a go-kart and then a motorbike. When we lived by the sea, Dad tried sailing boats and catamarans, speed boats and scuba diving. Unfortunately we all got seasick but the boats were always better than the family car - the cars survived by Dad's skill as a mechanic.

When we moved to a Northern NSW farm he bought an old Auster rag and tube aeroplane and again the family car suffered for the sake of enjoyment and Mum made do brilliantly with a farmhouse that bordered on the octogenarian. Flying made Mum sick but Dad hated mountain climbing - which was OK as Mum trekked Nepal with her friend. When Dad took up pig farming, I decided it was time to leave home and make more than the fifty cents I earned to clean a sty.

I moved back to Sydney at seventeen and started my training as a nurse and later a midwife. I bought a beautiful old blue Mercedes sedan with red leather seats and a polished wooden dashboard for a thousand dollars. It didn't matter that it was older than me as it used to tear me up and down the Pacific highway for ten hours to get me home to my parents whenever I could. I loved that car.

I met my wonderful husband, Ian (now a country ambulance officer), later that year, and have been married for twenty years. We have been blessed with five boys between six and seventeen years. Prudently, when we started to produce boys, we moved from Sydney to northern NSW and now live on three acres with kangaroos, wallabies and grass that grows faster than the speed of light. Even when the boys drive all over it! Our sons have six cars between them and four motorbikes, although most of the vehicles are out at Mum's farm - she's circumnavigating Australia in a pop-top caravan with her sister, at present.

As for writing - I've always loved reading and later in life it fed my passion for writing. My first medical romance novel DELIVERING LOVE was published by Harlequin Mills & Boon just after my fortieth birthday. It was heady stuff. I'm so glad Dad was alive for me to tell him the news.

In my other life, I work part-time as a midwife and also as facilitator for a teenage mothers group - both of which I love and often include in my writing - because the strength in women continues to awe me. My world is hectic but so it seems to be for most people

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Photo: Fiona McArthur
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