Australian author, Andrea Barton (previously writing as Jo Demmer), has experienced both the exhilaration and the jarring dislocation of life as an expat spouse. With her husband and two sons, she spent 13 years between Lagos, Nigeria; Houston, USA; and Doha, Qatar before repatriating to Melbourne, Australia. Chances are, they will venture overseas again, but who knows where?
Previously an electrical engineer turned career consultant, she has used her expat years to reinvent herself as a writer. Along the way, she developed a passion for ballroom and Latin dance, helped to build a school, got stuck in the sand (in a 4WD) in both the Doha and Australian deserts (not at the same time) and had a hallucinogenic experience in Peru.
She has written the Sam and Sue Adventure Series, illustrated by Whitney Van Nuis. With Gail Collins, she compiled, edited and wrote two anthologies about expat adventures Nigerian Gems and Papua New Guinea Pearls. Eight of Jo’s stage productions have been produced in Lagos, Nigeria and two were performed at Woodlands Preparatory School in Houston, Texas.
- She is a descendant of Arthur Bowes Smyth, surgeon on the Lady Penrhyn in the First Fleet, who wrote a journal of the voyage.
- As a student violinist, she studied with Lois Shepherd, Jean Lehmann and Nathan Gutman. She attended a Suzuki Summer School in Japan where she met Dr Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki music teaching methodology.