Pearce, Margaret (Jacqueline Webb)

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PEARCE, Margaret (Jacqueline Webb)

PERSONAL: Born in Melbourne, Australia; surname legally changed; daughter of William Charles (an inventor) and Olive Elizabeth (a Cornelli lace-machine embroiderer; maiden name, Webb) Brown; married William McDonald, April 14, 1952 (divorced July 7, 1977); children: two sons, two daughters. Education: Monash University, B.A., 1979; further study. Politics: "Leftish." Religion: United Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, swimming, reading, sketching.

ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 253, Belgrave, Victoria 3160, Australia. Agent—Dorothy Lumley, Dorian Literary Agency, Upper Thornehill, 24 Church Rd., St. Mary Church, Torquay, Devon TQ1 4QY, England.

CAREER: Writer. Formerly worked as a secretary.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

The Circus Runaways, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1978.

Altar of Shulaani: An Exciting Science-Fiction Adventure, Penguin (Ringwood, Australia), 1981.

Wanted! A Horse, Ashton Scholastic (Gosford, Australia), 1983.

The Misfit, Kangaroo Press (Kenthurst, Australia), 1984.

Marmaduke, Martin Educational (Cammeray, Australia), 1988.

When Doggo Went Purple, Collins (Sydney, Australia), 1989.

The Secret in the Compost Bin, Omnibus (Norwood, Australia), 1990.

The Convertible Couch, Random House (Milsons Point, Australia), 1991.

Caught in Willaburra, Millennium Books (Newtown, Australia), 1992.

The Old Man in the Park, Random House (Milsons Point, Australia), 1992.

Bolton Road Spy Catchers, Millennium Books (Newtown, Australia), 1992.

Rilla and the School Play, Scholastic, Inc., (New York, NY) 1997.

Birthday Surprise, Thomas Nelson (Melbourne, Australia), 1998.

Party Poopers, Macmillan Education (Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Author of books in multi-volume series published by Macmillan (Melbourne, Australia), including "One Day in the Life of a Maidservant," 1987; "The Castle Hill Uprising," 1987; and "Weekend of Herman John," 1989.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

The Look of Love, Penguin (Ringwood, Australia), 1988.

Bobby and Frank (novelization of Home and Away television program), Collins (Sydney, Australia), 1989.

Three's a Crowd, Transworld (Neutral Bay, Australia), 1991.

The Togetherness Routine, Longman Cheshire (London, England), 1991.

Weekend Territory, Longman Cheshire (London, England), 1993.

The Secret of the Third Seal, Longman Cheshire (London, England), 1995.

OTHER

(Under pseudonym Jacqueline Webb) The Lonely Heart (adult romance novel), Robert Hale (London, England), 1990.

(Under pseudonym Jacqueline Webb) Roses Are for Romance (adult romance novel), Robert Hale (London, England), 1991.

(Under pseudonym Jacqueline Webb) Shadows over Taralon (adult romance novel), Robert Hale (London, England), 1992.

Mission Perilous (fantasy e-book), Geelong Small Press, 2002.

Work represented in anthologies.

SIDELIGHTS: Margaret Pearce once told CA: "My father died when I was young. He ended up in the public service as a postal worker after his excursion in World War I, but he was more preoccupied with his inventions than with his regular income. My mother remained a widow and raised my brother and me alone. I moved into reading and books at about age seven, and I didn't move out of it. I seemed to spend most of my childhood sick, so I didn't spend that much time at any of the schools I was supposed to attend.

"My father's mother had been an actress and manager who adapted stories for her stage productions. I started writing under the pseudonym of her name. As that side of the family was very supportive about my writing, I changed my name by deed poll to her name, Pearce, after my divorce and before I graduated from university.

"On my mother's side, my grandfather was a saddle maker until saddles went out of fashion, then he worked at a brewery for the rest of his life. All his forebears were weavers (dating back to the time they skipped the south of France for England after the revocation of the Treaty of Nantes) until they hit Australia in the 1850s and ended up mining for gold at Ballarat. My grandmother came from Cornwall and descended from a long line of miners. My mother carried on the family craft tradition by being apprenticed as a Cornelli machinist (this type of work is all done by computerized sewing machines nowadays).

"I used to read obsessively. It only had to have print on it to be readable. I read through friends' and relatives' bookshelves, and through begged and borrowed books and school and church libraries. There was no supervision or direction of my reading, so I read everything. If I was reading, it meant I was out of mischief, and my mother, who never found time to read, never checked what I read.

"I must have started writing and illustrating stories to amuse younger cousins at about age eleven. I remember them being awful stories; my cousins must have been very tolerant. I wanted to be an artist, but my mother steered me into doing a commercial course. I evolved into doing secretarial work, put a few years in public service, and ended up as a copywriter in an advertising agency before marrying and having four children. Then I moved into temporary office work for years before, through, and after my divorce, until I stopped working to start studying.

"After my degree, I got halfway through a diploma of education before dropping out. I like kids, but I am sure that I am not teacher material. I applied for and got a grant to write, and I have been writing consistently ever since. I also taught writing part-time for two years.

"My writing routine is similar to early toilet training. I sit in front of my blank screen every morning until I produce something. When my mind actually functions, my characters move along effortlessly, and I find writing very contenting. When I get writer's block, it is as if I have got something seriously wrong with me, like spinal paralysis, and my whole existence comes to a dead stop.

"I find it very comfortable to write for the upper primary/lower secondary level, first for my children and now for my grandchildren. I also like experimenting with different levels, and I enjoy reading and writing fantasy and science fiction."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Magpies, March, 1991, p. 29; November, 1991, p. 30.

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Pearce, Margaret (Jacqueline Webb)

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