Photo by Cat Sparks
Nicole has been telling stories for as long as she can remember and been writing them down since primary school. She’s had five novels published - three as Nicole Murphy (the Dream of Asarlai trilogy with HarperCollins Australia) and two as Elizabeth Dunk (contemporary romance with Escape Publishing).
Her two main occupations thus far in her life – teaching and journalism – have taught her a great deal about writing. As a teacher, having to explain the nuances of story to young children helped to hone the information in her mind. As a journalist, Nicole has won awards for her writing (in particular a series of articles on mental illness) and has interviewed people such as Gary McDonald, Noeline Brown and Roy Billing. She is now onto her third occupation - professional conference organiser where again, her writing skills are at the fore.
Nicole has had more than two dozen short stories published, the most recent in Bloodstones, an anthology of urban fantasy published in 2012 (didn’t have a good year for sales in 2013). She edited The Outcast for CSFG Publishing (including the Aurealis Award nominated horror short “Woman Train”) and Issue 25 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, both published in 2006 and In Fabula-divino, an anthology of new writers, published in 2013.
Nicole is also active in fandom. She has been on the organising committee for many Conflux conventions, including chairing Conflux 4 in 2007 and Conflux 9 (the 52nd Nation) in 2013. She is currently organising the inaugural Conflux Writer’s Day and is convening the 2013 and 2014 Aurealis Awards. She is a long-time member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG).
Nicole teaches writing through workshops, most recently the very popular Year of the Novel program at ACT Writer’s Centre, which she developed.
She is a member of the Fantasy Writers on Retreat writing group, which includes Trudi Canavan, Russell Kirkpatrick, Matthew Farrer, Cat Sparks, Donna Hanson, Ian McHugh, Joanne Anderton, Alan Baxter, Kimberley Gaal, Shauna O’Meara, Rob Porteous and Kylie Seluka.
Nicole lives in Queanbeyan with her husband Tim, a computer programmer.
Okay, that’s the official professional sounding Biography. For those who want a little more personality in their personality descriptions, here’s a list of what I am and I am not.
- Australian. And proud of it!
- Married. To Tim, as mentioned above. Well, one’s most important relationship should get some mention, shouldn’t it?
- A Dunkley. Go the Dunkleys! I’m the eldest of seven children to Brian and Gael. My siblings (in chronological order) are Matthew, Phillip, Annette, Jennifer, Christopher and Charissa. I also know all their middle names, and all their birthdays too, which I consider quite an achievement for a family this size.
- A Westie. I was born in Penrith (in the western suburbs of Sydney) and lived there until I was seven. As a result, I am genetically engineered to love sheepskin and flannel shirts, although I can speak proper :)
- Short. Funnily enough, this has never actually bothered me. It is a fact that must be acknowledged, and does at times adversely impact on my quality of life, but nevertheless it doesn’t bug me. So if you want to insult me, don’t waste your breath on my height.
- Going grey. Sad, but true. Started when I was in my mid-20s, and I am now so grey that it ages me terribly. Thus I am also addicted to having my hair dyed.
- Visually impaired. I got glasses in 1990, and my eyesight continues to deteriorate and now I have two sets of glasses, one for distance vision, one for the computer. See, I have suffered for my art.
- Hearing impaired. I have a condition in which the bones in my middle ear are hardening and failing to pass on the sound. Luckily, it’s only in my right ear, so I’ve never had any problems communicating. But one day… This is something I’m not looking forward to, a world without sound.
- An artist. I experiment with ways of expressing myself. Obviously, the written word is the main focus, but I have also in the past sung, acted, and I enjoy photography.
- Dedicated to becoming the best writer I can.
- Trying to be a strong woman and a fearless creator, although this is a work in progress
- Emotional. There are times I’ve wished I wasn’t, but then drugs put me into an emotionless stupor for a while and I realised that while losing the downs was good, losing the ups was terrible, so I’m back to swinging like a pendulum between blissfully happy and an emotional wreck. Feel for my husband.
I AM NOT…
- American, European, Asian, African, single, a latte-sipper from Bondi, tall or wearing my natural hair colour (see above).
- The repository of all knowledge about writing.
- Nicole Kidman (though there is a similarity in the curliness of our hair, so apart from the huge difference in height, waist measurement, colouring and wealth, I can see why you would think so).
- Willing to settle for almost good-enough.
- Going to give up my dreams in order to fit other people’s expectations - I did that for too long
- Everything I want to be, but I’m working hard on it
- Eddie Murphy’s wife. Really, I wish I was THAT Nicole Murphy. The money would be really handy… Except I would have had to be married to Eddie Murphy, so scratch that
- Careful enough with my diet. But damn it, food is just sooooo yummy. Especially chips. If we weren’t meant to eat it, surely it would taste like crap?
- Young any more. It’s surprising how quickly aging impacts you. I remember the things I ate and drank and the places I slept when I was in my early twenties and it makes me shudder. Give me a glass or two of good wine, an early night and my bed, thank you very much.