A day in the life of Judith Rossell, author of the Stella Montgomery series

Garden of Lilies - close up

Judith Rossell is the multi-award-winning author-illustrator of the bestselling Stella Montgomery series. Judith has written thirteen books and illustrated more than eighty, and her work has been published in the US, UK and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Judith lives in Melbourne, Australia with a cat the size of a walrus.

The first thing I usually do in the morning is to pick up all the cats that are not supposed to be in my house and put them outside. My cat is very friendly, and he often invites other cats in. He shows them how to use the cat door, and where the food is. Here’s my cat, and here are some of his friends.

My cat, pictured next to "not my cat"

I have a desk in the front room of my house, so I can watch people walking along the street, which is interesting. Above my desk, which is a bit untidy, I have pinboards with lots of pictures.

Judith Rossell bookshelf


I try to write every day, and it usually works best for me if I do it in the morning. But it’s easy to get distracted! Sometimes I take the computer down the street, and work in the café. (Also, I like looking at the cakes, and the café plays Greek pop music, which puts me in a cheerful mood). Sometimes I go and work in the library, which is also close by. I find writing really difficult, and so I’m always trying to work out what I can do to make it a bit easier.



I read lots of books about Victorian times to help with ideas for my stories. My novels Withering-by-Sea and Wormwood Mire, as well as the new story that I’m writing now, Wakestone Hall, are all set in the year 1885, and so I want to find out everything I can about that time, and get ideas that I can put into my stories. Sometimes I visit places that might be useful for my story.

When I was writing Wormwood Mire, which is set in a Victorian mansion, I visited a lot of old mansions around Melbourne.

Some days, instead of writing, I visit schools and talk to the students about illustrating and writing, and I also teach adults who want to write books for children.


Apart from that, I like to I catch up with friends, or draw pictures of things, and to go on trips. I quite like gardening, but I don’t do it enough, and the garden looks a bit like a jungle. There are lots of birds, and a lovely family of ringtail possums that come down at night for little bits of apple.


Picture of a backyard

Posted on December 7, 2017 by

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