Lian’s entry into the world was complicated, and she shouldn’t have survived.

Born on 7th November in the 60’s, her 25 year old mother Josephine shared a room in Crown St Women’s Hospital with several other new mothers. Being unfamiliar with newborns, she asked the others if their babies’ eyes were also turning red.

Baby Lian was whisked away without another word.

Some hours later, the family obstetrician, a handsome young doctor named Dr William McBride, gently advised that the baby had suffered a serious injury, a subarachnoid haemorrhage, likely due to the effects of Thalidomide. (Josephine had initially been taking this drug, which was widely used for nausea at the time, and stopped on his advice.) A team of quick-thinking doctors had now given Lian three urgent lumber punctures to relieve pressure on the brain, however they conceded it was highly likely she would not make it through the night and it was best to prepare goodbyes.

Family rushed from Melbourne and a priest was summoned. Lian hung on. Eventually, after many tests, her parents brought her home. When she cried her father, Maurice, took to driving loops of the local roundabout for hours on end as it soothed her to sleep. Incredibly, with the exception of damaged sight that was later corrected, she made a full recovery and inexplicably loves country drives.

At the age of 1, her family moved to Melbourne, where she grew up. She loved to read and write, and with a pair of thick black spectacles she was always immersed in books. Her passion for animals also became evident, and at the tender age of 11 she began working as a volunteer for a local vet. Despite honours awards during her schooling and long and dedicated study efforts, she did not achieve the entry level demanded for Veterinary Science and instead began firstly a Bachelor of Science before transferring to Nuclear Medicine. But it was a subject titled ‘Computers’ which she struggled with and hated that ironically became the tipping point for her future. After it was recommended she consult with a tech wiz friend, the penny suddenly dropped. The dreaded topic made sense, and she embarked instead on a Bachelor of Business majoring in computers. For the next 30 years she forged a career in various major corporates, in many senior roles, specialising in the procurement of financial systems and eventually a wide range of other products and services. She enjoyed writing executive summaries but dreamed of the day when they would be twice as long and she could use at least one adjective.

Secretly though, she wished she could write a book. Ploughing through many a story, she admired others’ handiwork and imagined what it would be like. But a life full of commitments (a husband, three small children, a job, two pets, a house, volunteer work for the RSPCA and extended family) made writing time almost impossible. She put the fantasy aside.

Yet life moves quickly, and in the blink of any eye the family had grown. It was time for a change. Encouraged by her husband to fulfil this lifelong yearning, she set about putting her first story together. The result is a crime fiction, Idle Lies, and now a non-fiction, Ratbag Soldier Saint – The real story of Sergeant Issy Smith VC. Typing away with her husband nearby and her dog by her side, she is finally combining some of her favourite loves.