Higgins, Simon (Richard) 1958-
HIGGINS, Simon (Richard) 1958-
PERSONAL: Born November 21, 1958, in Aldershot, England; son of Aubrey Charles Roff (a military officer) and Marjorie Helen (a stenographer; maiden name, Stevens) Higgins; married Anne Catherine Ennis (a visual artist), October 27, 1979; children: Bronwyn, James. Ethnicity: "Celtic." Education: Professional development coursework; Coffs Harbour Business College, small business management certificate, 1999. Hobbies and other interests: History, archaeology, Oriental and Native American culture, experimental technology, martial arts, science fiction, Shakespearean tragedy, computer game design, rain forest restoration, and terraforming.
CAREER: Police officer Adelaide, Australia, 1986-94, began as patrol officer, breath analyst, and prosecutor, then senior constable; private investigator in Adelaide, 1994-96; novelist, 1996—. Lecturer and guest speaker at schools and writers' conferences; consultant to community intervention groups.
MEMBER: Queensland Writers' Centre, Gold Coast Writers, Inc., Northern Rivers Writers' Centre.
AWARDS, HONORS: Department of Employment, Education, Training, and Youth Affairs New Enterprise grant, 1999; Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book designation, 1999, for Dr. Id, and 2000, for Thunderfish; Australia Council for the Arts Literature Fund grant, 2001.
Doctor Id (young-adult novel; also see below), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1998.
Thunderfish (novel), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.
Beyond the Shaking Time, Hodder Headline Australia, 2000.
Cybercage, (young-adult novel; also see below), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.
Under No Flag (novel), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2001.
The Stalking Zone (young-adult novel), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2002.
In the Jaws of the Sea (novel), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2003.
Jade Draper in the DreamWeb Files (contains Doctor Id, Cybercage, and The Stalking Zone), Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.
Contributor to Thirty Australian Stories for Children, Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2004. Contributor to periodicals, including Police Journal, SCAN, South Australian Manager, and Viewpoint.
Higgins's works have been translated into Italian.
SIDELIGHTS: Simon Higgins once commented to CA: "Writing became an obsession for me at an early age, I think because my mother read to me—a rich literary diet of Greek and Celtic hero myths and classic adventure stories. My mother was a gifted storyteller herself, and I grew up hearing fascinating tales of my parents' lives in India, Africa, Cyprus, and other exotic locations. Both the cooking and conversation at our house were multicultural and, like our decor and ornaments, they were incidental facts of life, neither a fad nor an issue. My parents would sometimes banter in Hindi, yet they were also very British in both speech and personal culture. It was a great atmosphere for an embryonic writer, and I remain grateful to them for it to this day.
"I was first published at the age of ten in a national poetry contest, but then, like many teenagers lurching uneasily into adulthood, I proceeded to lose track of my inner self, somehow bumbling, after a decade of drifting, into the unlikely world of law enforcement. A respected police partner once summed up my time in that scene most deftly, with a quote from Dickens: 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.'
"Fortunately, I garnered some useful life skills from that decade before relocating the real me and reinventing myself as a writer. Because of this long journey back to identity, I often sign books for young adults with my maxim, 'Chase that dream!' I have no regrets, however, as those 'bests' and 'worsts' of that season in my life have made me who I am, and memory-driven inspirations are now allies, not personal demons, though the transformation took time and the love and support of my family to achieve.
"While writing as an adult began for me as self-prescribed therapy for stress, it is now a joyful, consuming passion. My abiding interest is the impact of technology and societal change on the human condition, particularly our ancient drives which pull us—at times—in opposite directions. In moments they make us the hero or civilized, conscience-bound peacemaker of our own unique story, at other times the villain or guest barbarian. I am fascinated by the timely dynamics thrown into that timeless mix: is our destiny marriage to the machine, or is the next step in human evolution a more spiritual and enlightened one, perhaps in direct reaction to the silicon invasion we all face?
"As a writer I strive to examine these and related issues, and to use them as a context for creating intelligent entertainment—and hopefully in some small fragments, even art. I try to look at our current turning point in history with insight, compassion, and optimism. I also take perverse pride in relentlessly doing something periodically unfashionable or politically incorrect: unashamedly highlighting—through fictional characters—the defiant, wonderful positives about human nature and the hope they offer for the future. I think writers like myself, so eminently qualified by their backgrounds to be pessimists, are the logical people to underscore these truths.
"My work has one predominant message. There will be battles, some of them terrible and costly, but in the end our species will grow up, to a future worth fighting for. It will be a future richly deserved by our children, and by the brave, hopeful child within us all."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Simon Higgins Home Page, http://www.homepages.better.net.au/doctorid (May 20, 2005).