Most Australians get offended when people from other countries ask if they had kangaroos in their backyard, snakes in the garden and crocodiles in the creek. They tell people that's all a ridiculous stereotype.
I suppose I grew up a stereotype, then.
I was raised on a vast cattle station in the Gulf Country of northwest Queensland. School was conducted over the radio, and doctors flew for hundreds of kilometres to administer my childhood vaccinations.
From there, I have travelled, lived, worked and studied all over Australia, and the world. A copper miner and a cook, a jackaroo and a journalist, a door-to-door salesman and a qualified lawyer who also won United Nations-sponsored prizes while studying diplomacy as part of an International Relations degree at Bond University.
Through all of that, however, reading and writing have always been my greatest passions. One of my earliest memories on the cattle station is painstakingly drawing individual green scales on a dragon to illustrate a story I wrote, imaginatively titled Damien and the Dragon.
While trying my hand at some freelance journalism in Iraq, Greece and Ukraine in mid-2015, I began to notice my notepads were filling with a novel about heroes and monsters in the Outback, rather than interviews about various international crises – so I decided to write Popinjay’s Beverage Emporium instead.