Dr Amanda Niehaus's enthusiasm for field biology as a graduate student took her from her native Iowa, to Argentina, Alaska, and then to Australia, where she settled.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the first year of her daughter's life, her world was upended.
Amanda underwent an intensive period of treatments, and although the cancer was defeated, she had to accept she could not have any more children.
After facing her mortality at such a young age, Amanda found herself so changed she wanted to pursue her study of science in a deeper way.
Around this time her husband became involved in the large study of northern quolls on Groote Eylandt.
Taking the brutal life-cycle of the northern quoll as her inspiration, Amanda has turned to fiction to translate the lessons of nature.