Gabrielle Tozer - Riverina author's return home

Gabrielle Tozer - Riverina author's return home

WORDS: Sophie Hay @sophies.little.library

This article was first published in OAK Magazine Issue 10 2022

We all remember our teenage years with varying levels of joy and horror. Gabrielle Tozer taps into these formative years with a deft hand, and her ability to weave awkward and heart-warming moments into engaging stories has made her an award-winning author of six books spanning young adult and children’s fiction.

Gabrielle grew up an avid reader and found it a natural evolution to become a writer.

After studying journalism and creative writing in Canberra and starting her career in various print media publications in Sydney, Gabrielle started toying with the idea of writing a novel.

She got started with her book in the way most writers do – which is to say, she procrastinated wildly. With a gentle nudge from someone in publishing, she wrote her debut young adult novel The Intern in 2014. The Intern is based in the office of fictional women’s magazine Sash, which bears a similarity to Gabrielle’s own career beginnings.

Gabrielle wrote for magazines such as Dolly, Cosmopolitan and Girlfriend in her early days of journalism, and believes this formed her natural writing voice which lends itself so well to the young adult genre of books.

“I was always living this double writing life – writing for magazines while also tinkering away with personal creative writing,” says Gabrielle.

Gabrielle follows her story ideas rather than trying to write a specific type of book, and most of her published work has been young adult fiction.

“It’s just such a transformative and exciting and challenging time of your life. It's a rich ground for conflict, for self-discovery. There are so many firsts that you go through in that time which can also lead to awkward, heartbreaking and embarrassing moments – and it just so happens I love to write those moments.”

Gabrielle loved her life in Sydney, but as her career became more stable it was possible that living in a regional town would work.

After having her first child and realising that living in a one-bedroom apartment in the city wasn’t going to work long term, her family relocated to Gabrielle’s hometown of Wagga Wagga in NSW.

“We are a walking cliché of parents with young children,” she laughs.

“We wanted to have a house and be close to the grandparents. But I was adamant that I would still be able to juggle my work while looking after our daughters.”

Moving to Wagga Wagga has been the change of pace Gabrielle and her family needed. It has also meant learning a different way of life including learning to drive whilst pregnant. It is not the thriving media hub of Sydney, but Gabrielle believes you can write anywhere as long as you have your laptop and Wi-Fi.

“I’ve also immersed myself in the local art scene and been involved with some projects here. There is a lot of potential, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.”

Gabrielle is the recipient of two micro grants to work on new writing projects through Eastern Riverina Arts and the Booranga Writers' Centre, where she is one of their writers in residence.

Eastern Riverina Arts is an organisation committed to supporting creatives and promoting the arts in their region, while the Booranga Writers’ Centre is part of Charles Sturt University and provides opportunities for writers to network and learn from other writers.


Latest releases by Gabrielle Tozer: The Unexpected Mess of it All (out now) and Before We Met (out September 2024)

Website | Instagram

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.