Cheryse Durrant lives in the tiny coastal township of Bargara, on the eastern side of Australia, with her gorgeous but forgetful husband Shane and their demanding cat, Scamp.
She attempted her first novel at the age of three when she used felt-tip pens to write on her Aunt Miriam’s wall. Her creative efforts did not attract critical acclaim.
She and her sisters grew up on a Queensland farm where they rode horses, milked cows and tripped about in the “ute” with their dad. Cheryse’s passion for speculative fiction stirred early as she stumbled upon eps of Dr Who and Blakes Seven (there was only ABC in the west back then) and the books of John Christopher. She remembers burrowing herself so deeply into a David Eddings saga one family fishing trip that the yellowbelly tugging at her line escaped with her entire rod – before she even had time to put down the book.
At seven, Cheryse started writing stories in little exercise books and won many children’s competitions. Prizes included cash, chocolates, books and a bottle of Malibu. By sixteen, she had acquired a typewriter dubbed Travis and wrote her first full-length manuscript (a superhero adventure that remains locked in her bottom drawer). That was also the year she won the Toowoomba Writers Train Competition, enabling her to spend a day with writing greats such as Thea Astley, Thomas Keneally, Nick Earls and Ross Clark.
Cheryse studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in journalism and spent the next 15 years working as a journalist and sub-editor for Queensland regional and daily newspapers. The award-winning Toastmaster also ran her own public relations and desktop publishing company, presented workshops and even coordinated the Romantic Book of the Year Award (Australia).
For two years, Cheryse traded her shorthand notepad for a dental chair. She wrote and edited Shahkara by night while working in a dental surgery by day. Sadly, no vamps ever presented with broken teeth, but her environment inspired another stand-alone manuscript, Dental Care for Vampires and Other Awkward Creatures.
Cheryse has won and been placed in a number of writing competitions and awards, including the Queensland Arts Council New Regional Writer Award, under a different pen-name. She has taught creative writing for children for the Queensland Writers Centre, coordinates the What If Speculative Fiction Writers group at Bargara, and volunteers at the annual Bundaberg WriteFest. Cheryse also teaches writing via her Creative Dragons website, www.creativedragons.com.au
She is now completing the sequel to Shahkara, The Ghost She Killed, while also rewriting a children’s high fantasy trilogy, at the request of another Australian publishing house