Since publishing her first play at age seventeen, Melbourne-based writer Alex (Lee) Miles has worked across theatre, television and advertising, and under the alluring penname H.I. Larry for eight children’s books in the Zac Power series.
I’ve imparted wedding wisdom with Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride, and am currently working on a pregnancy sequel, Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bump (Affirm Press), as well as a junior fiction series, Starring Olive Black, (Affirm Press, available April 2017).
When I’m not at the desk, you’ll find me hanging out with my hubby Paul and our son, the gorgeous George, or speaking in schools.
Q&A with Alex
Where were you born?
St George’s hospital in Melbourne.
What other jobs have you had?
Plenty. At school I rode my bike on a chemist round, but then I’ve worked at McDonalds (running birthday parties was where I earned my stripes), at a boarding school in England for a year (the school turned 450 years old the year I was there!), waitressed at a golf-club (I’m terrible at golf), worked in advertising on and off for 12 years (as a copywriter and account manager), did media for the 2008 Melbourne Homeless World Cup and marketing with The Big Issue (met many inspiring people there), and then writing with Neighbours and my books.
What themes are recurring in your work?
Creativity and Relationships – I love characters that can use a wild imagination to make anything fun, or get themselves out of any sort of pickle. And I love exploring relationships, especially with friends and family. I studied a Bachelor of Psychology & Marketing/Management at Monash University, and the social psych subjects were always my favourite.
What have been the highlights of your career?
Getting my first gig in the Story Room at Neighbours was one. After three years of failed applications I was ready to pack it in, only to get a random call six months later saying we’ve seen you’ve been persistent and can you do a 2-week leave replacement for the Script Co-ordinator. Turned up on my first day and with someone being away sick, was thrown in the room to start plotting. Two weeks turned into about two years! And while it was invaluable being able to cut my teeth in established series like Neighbours and Zac Power, nothing tops the feeling of getting my own series published. More specifically, the feedback from readers. A class read an early draft of Mammoth Mistake before it went to print, and make posters with reviews and drawings and star ratings. I smiled for days.
Where have your works been published?
Some of my plays are available through the Australian Script Centre, and I’ve written plays for Explore magazine too. Then my books can be found in stores and online.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about kids (and adults) using their imaginations. I also love spending time outdoors and most importantly with my family.
Haven’t I seen you before?
Maybe? I was on Kids WB recently.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I have a little son called George. And I think he’s a legend.