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E. J. (Erica) Gore Erica grew up in Brisbane, Australia, in the 1950/60s. For an inwardly adventurous, but outwardly shy child, reading was a major part of life. Stories such as Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five' adventures fired her imagination and created new worlds for her to explore. Making up stories of her own followed as a natural progression, with Erica holding storytelling sessions for her stuffed toys each evening before bed. Having overcome her shyness by taking drama classes at her mother's insistence, Erica became a primary school teacher. She brought her love of story into the classroom, using narrative as a base for the units of work she planned for her students. Her core belief that stories provide children with a means of engaging with, and forming deeper understanding of, the world around them proved most successful in encouraging learning. When she retired from the classroom, Erica began to write her stories down. 'It was as though the time was right to be writing. The ideas were there and I had to let them escape from my brain and sort themselves out on paper.' Erica's characters are average kids. They do not have any special powers. They do not live in any fantasy worlds. Quick wits and keen observation skills are their weapons. The main character, Taya, is the adventurous little girl that Erica longed to be. She has the adventures that Erica dreamed of having. She is a child who wonders about things and likes to figure out puzzles. She can be a scaredy-cat and she can be amazingly brave. She and her friend, Chris, are likeable kids with whom young readers can easily identify. Who wouldn't want to be out and about solving mysteries and having adventures? Erica still lives in Brisbane with her husband and their two mischievous dogs.