Isabel Ogilvie

The beginning

I grew up in the small town of Altona, on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne. I still live there only now it’s a small town surrounded by a big city.

When I was a child I would read anything I could get my hands on. There were always books and music in our home. The best thing that ever happened in our town was when the public library opened. Later on I worked at that library for many years.

I loved reading the Famous Five and saw myself as George. Where I grew up was perfect for exploring and we would be gone for hours on end during the long summer holidays.

The book I loved the most as a child was The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. I still have my original copy.

On cold winter’s nights I would write stories and make up little play with my sisters. We would often act out little plays and musicals for our parents. Small parts went to our dog, Sally and cat, Timmy.


The middle

I have lots of favourite books and enjoy reading fiction based on the Arthurian legends, especially authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jack Whyte. At the moment I’m going through a Scandinavian crime fiction phase. Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson are also high on my list and I have just discovered Kate Atkinson. My favourite children’s books have to be the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. After I visited Cornwall I came back to Australia and re-read them.

Why do I write for children? I am a Librarian with a background in children’s literature. Opening children’s minds to reading is a pleasure I can’t explain, especially when they return wanting more.

Most days I write at my desk, looking out through the front window. Not much to see but at least I get to see trees and flowers, better than my years sitting at a desk under fluorescent lights for eight hours a day without a glimpse of the outside world.  When I’m not writing the Red Dragon Chronicles I write short stories.

I just like to sit down and put words on paper with my great-grandfather’s fountain pen before using the computer.  My great-grandfather came to Australia from Scotland in 1889 and worked as a journalist on the West Australian newspaper.  The writing then skipped a couple of generations. I like to think he would be very proud of me.


The Next Chapter

When I grow up I want to be a writer living on a tropical island somewhere off Far North Queensland. Of course this would mean packing up a husband, four children, numerous in-laws and five grandchildren. It doesn’t hurt to dream big, and as I keep getting told by my loved ones that I still haven’t grown up then this plan could be a long way off.

My philosophy on life is to be happy. The last few years have taught me that it’s not the material things that make me happy, it’s the people I share my life with. They are my inspiration. If I have a day when I can’t write I sit down and read, or take the toddler grandchild to the park. Notice there’s nothing about housework here.  That’s an as needs type of thing. 



If I was a book it would be an adventure time travel book where I visited Scotland in the days of the Picts and the Celts. Then I would head down to Cornwall. Iceland would be interesting.

My eldest grandson inspired me to write the Red Dragon Chronicles. I passed my love of Arthurian legends and mythology to him. When he was little we would make up stories about mythical monsters. I have written these books for him.

I want children to read my books and be transported to a world of fantasy and adventure. Most of all I want to write books that children want to read, books that will send them on long journeys of the imagination, on journeys of exploration to strange and mythical lands. To me Devlin and Shay represent the fearlessness and openness of childhood.