Thought-Provoking Fiction

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I was stunned and deeply troubled recently to hear about a friend’s financial circumstances. From beginning married life with a $10,000 mortgage some twenty years ago, today she and her husband are burdened by a mortgage in the hundreds of thousands for the same suburban three-bedroom unit.

How did that happen? Quite simply: they didn’t fully understand the terms of their loan or that the expensive childcare they were paying for was costing them more than the income she was bringing in.

piggybankA few weeks ago I harped on about our need for Common Sense Skills in schools, especially Communication Skills. (Link here if you haven’t read it.) This time I want to harp on about our urgent need for financial literacy.

Did you know that Australia has one of the highest levels of household debt in the world?
Did you know that Australian teenagers are scoring worse on financial literacy tests than in 2012?
Did you know that adults are still taking out loans they don’t understand (even after the supposed wake-up call of the Global Financial Crisis)?

Did you know that students who discuss money with their parents and have a bank account perform better on financial literacy tests?

It’s that easy! Talk about money with your kids. Sit down with them and give them the hard facts about what you spend on your mortgage or rent, food bill, utilities, car maintenance and petrol, school fees, activities, clothing and shoes, health care, holidays, outings, gifts… etc. Then show them what you earn. Voilà! Amazing personal development program at your kitchen table.

I was delighted when I was asked by business coach Camilla Mendoza to write a novel teaching financial literacy skills to teenagers. QUEST FOR RICHES is the result, and I hope this book is picked up by schools because it’s full of really useful practical information in, as per my usual style, the form of an entertaining story about four teenagers. (No, you haven't missed the launch. It's still coming...)

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to talk about the book with two groups of teens at an event called ‘The Comfort Zone’ that was being run at EV’s Youth Centre in Croydon. The brilliant idea of ‘Work Ready Coach’ Mario de Souza, the room was set up with a comfy zone in the centre: armchairs, cushions, movies… while in break-out rooms around the outside, activities were being run on various topics such as Sugar Awareness, ‘Digital Dopamine’, teamwork, mindfulness, and – the four money personalities! (That was me sharing about the characters in Quest For Riches.)

Each student who attended a workshop instead of lounging around on the lounge suite, accrued points and went into the draw for prizes that had been donated by local business, such as cinema tickets.

It was a great day, and I was very pleased to meet a teacher who is reading Quest For Riches at the moment and keen to have the school adopt the book as a text. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, do your kids a favour and talk about money with them. Open a bank account. Encourage them to save. Read Quest For Riches together… 

plant growth through woodHave you heard about Leigh Sales’s new book? Any Ordinary Day is about the ABC TV host’s experiences in going from what she describes as a ‘charmed life’ to a string of crises that have left her feeling fearful about the future.

round tableFollowing the debacle in Australian federal politics over the last few years, and particularly the last couple of months – and now we have a crisis in the ABC – it occurs to me that a refreshing change would be national leadership via principles rather than personality.

love blossomsIt’s great to see so many schools proclaiming their values via big colourful posters around the campus on subjects to do with kindness and fairness and honesty and tolerance, and I have no doubt that teachers and principals repeatedly emphasise these values when they address students, but what about actual regular skill development?

books readingI submitted my books to this list and thought I'd share it with you as there are several other titles here that will be sure to appeal. 

The topics include money, relationships, anger, living intentionally, success and more.

I'd love to know which books you would recommend.


Talking troubledMost of us have a personal story that we re-energise regularly by telling others. Sometimes it’s an empowering story but often we repeat tales of our bad luck or flaws or how things aren’t working out for us. Since ‘what we feed, grows’, it makes sense to be telling stories about our character strengths.

sick in bedDuring my novel-writing course one student explained her absence the previous week with the excuse that she had ‘the plague’. Quite acceptable in the middle of winter. 

Another student justified her lack of writing progress with a blush and the comment that a past lover had come back into her life – they’d been burning the candle at both ends. The whole class thoroughly enjoyed this excuse – there was lots of laughter and envy. 

Tahnee WoolfDid you know that there are 10 Terrains of Consciousness, and if you and your partner inhabit different ones, you might have trouble communicating?

If you’ve been following my story you know that my life changed significantly after writing Wanted: Greener Grass (ironically a book in which I talk about the illusion of ‘greener grass’…).

Hautvillers Dagonet 4The honeymoon was wonderful! We flew into Paris and visited Versailles – drove up to Reims to explore the gorgeous villages (and cellars) of the Champagne region – explored some of the chateaux along the River Loire – stayed with a delightful couple deep in the Limoges region of France where we somehow managed a rich conversation with their patchy English and my patchy French – explored the medieval city of Carcassonne… dropped into Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence – met and stayed with wonderful warm and open-hearted family in Cannes – realised a dream in Monte Carlo and on Lake Como – and discovered the Swiss Alps via train on the final leg of our adventure.