Thyla @ Random House | Goodreads | Google Books

THYLA is a story of Tasmania: of darkness, of convicts, of devils and tigers, and of promises that stay true through the centuries. It is the story of what happened to Cat, and what Tessa really is.


My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain.

I was found in the bush, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory – not even of how I got the long, striping slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember.

The policewoman, Connolly, found me a place in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the bush.

I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat’s story, I might discover my own – and stop it happening again.


74 thoughts on “Thyla

  1. Hi Kate. I don’t know if you remember me but we met at the Bruny Island Children’s Literature Festival. We were talking about Dr Who and I got you to sign Thyla and Vulpi. They were a great read!!!! I really enjoyed the new concept of Tasmanian Tigers and Devils and the very Australian setting. I think they would be great as movies. We don’t have enough great Australian movies. Has anyone approached you to turn them into movies yet? I’m going to buy Writing Clementine tomorrow from The Hobart Bookshop. I would love you to sign it for me. Are you going to the Wooden Boat Festival at all over the next 4 days? Maybe we could meet up? Tallulah

  2. Hi Kate, a couple of years ago I left you a comment asking about Tamora Pierce, sorry I don’t know why I’m mentioning it now, well, I do. I can’t remember what exactly you said but it inspired me to continue writing and to choose English writing as one of my TCE options this year (my english teacher hadn’t heard of Thyla and Vulpi so I lent them to her and now we have what is essentially a book club going between members of our class) thank you for inspiring me to continue. Anyway, now is the time of the year that we’re working on our major writing pieces and I’m doing a piece on a convict who was sent to the cascades female factory, somewhat ironically i was procrastinating and surfing the net when inspiration struck, I was looking for names in the convict data bases and I came across a marriage license that intrigued me so I decided to write a story centered around the couple. Unfortunately it’s quite difficult to find much information on the convicts and their daily lives, so I was wondering if you knew of any good sites that you might be able to share with me? I have been to the female factory in the past but I haven’t been since 2011 and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to go again before this is due, so I would really appreciate any help you can offer

    1. Hi Chloe,
      Lovely to hear from you again and I am *so* glad you are writing! Yay you!!! I’m also thrilled that Thyla and Vulpi have started a book club. How exciting! As for your project, the very best suggestion I have for you is getting in touch with the library at the university. The librarian in charge of History is called Scott, and he is a lovely man. His email address is at this website I’m sure he’d be really happy to give you a quick hand if I said I pointed you in his direction! Let me know how you go, and if you need any more help.

  3. Hi I loved thyla and vulpi. I was a bit frustrated at first when cat ended up being Theron character because I really liked Tessa and Perrin but at the end of the the book I really liked cat. I have one question though about thyla, how did I Perrin know that Tessa had lost her memory. Wouldn’t he just see her an instantly give her a massive hug and all. I really liked how you drew me into the book by the back o the page and the first few sentences. I tell that a book is good by reading the first few sentences or paragraph. And by that account your book seemed good. Thank you for writing those wonderful books

    1. Thank you very much, Eden! I so utterly thrilled you liked Thyla! And your idea about Perrin is very interesting. It may sound very strange to you but, sometimes, it feels as though my characters have minds of their own, of which I am not in control! So the way he reacted to Tessa is very much Perrin’s doing, not mine! And he is a very stubborn man! But I completely get where you’re coming from. I’m often very frustrated by the way characters behave in books. Just like real life, they often don’t do what you’d like them to! Thanks again for reading my books and taking the time to comment. Happy reading!

  4. OMG luuuuuuuuuuuuuuved thyla and vulpi is awesome!!!!!!!! I am eleven i fell in luv once i read them then my friends all wanted it i only had 1 copy so they read it 1 by 1 then realized it was in the library lol we all luv it plz write another book.also i wanted to ask if you were a bit of a rebel when you were a kid? :p

    1. Hi Briana,
      Thanks heaps for your message. I’m so thrilled you like Thyla. It makes my day hearing that!
      I was a bit rebellious at school – I was a bit of a square in some subjects (like English and drama) but pathetically hopeless at maths and PE – I did often get in trouble in those classes (oops). And I was a bit dreamy so I got in trouble for that too (that hasn’t changed). Oh and don’t even get me started on reading in class when I should have been working (but that’s more nerdy than rebellious, isn’t it)? I guess it all goes to show, though, that being dreamy and bad at maths and reading in class doesn’t mean you’ll turn out too badly!
      Oh and I never cleaned my room. Ever. Mouldy oranges under the bed, the lot. It was a bit gross, really!!!
      Hope that answers your question!
      Kate G xxx

  5. Hi all,
    I just want to ask kate gordon if there will be a book three ( and if so wwhen it will come out!) because I want to know what happens to Delphi, if Cat and archie ever get together and if the deimans ever end up winning!!!! I AM DIEING TO KNOW!!

    1. Hi Bubbles (is that your real name? If so, it’s awesome!),
      Book 3 is in the works. Hopefully it will be on bookshelves in the not-too-distant future!
      I’m glad you’re eager to find out what happens but sorry you have to wait – this book-making thing takes a bit longer than people think! I know how you feel, though. I’m desperate for the new Ally Carter at the moment and I only just read the last one – if only writing books was as quick as reading them!!
      Thanks heaps for getting in touch!
      Kate G x

  6. Hey , I just read Thyla as my pick for an English assignment on an Australian book. I believe Thyla is a great book and very interesting, although its hard to make a digital storybook adaption on powerpoint off it’s still amazing!
    I was abit annoyed at the end of the book because i didn’t have Vulpi to read!
    Oh , and by any chance does Thyla relate to the Thylacine as it describes it to be dog like and striped . 🙂

  7. I picked this book up on a whim, read the blurb, and fell in love with it. It got a bit hard for me to follow (but only because I’m tired and have exams for the next three days) but for once a GOOD Aussie author has come out of the woodwork. Very interesting and refreshing subject choice. I absolutely loved it. Finished it in less than 12 hours. I am itching to get my hands on Vulpi already. Keep it up!

    -Maeve, 15, from Sydney

  8. Hi Kate I love Thyla and I cant wait til Vulpi comes out. You are one of my inspired authors . I love how you keep the readers eyes glued to the page.

  9. hi kate my name is billie and im 12 years old and i love you thyla book it was amazing its very hard for me to read but i started to read this book at school it was just a random pick and i loved it you are such a good writer and when does vulpi come out iv been waiting and waiting and iv read thyla like ten times

    1. Dear Billie,
      I’m so very thrilled that you liked Thyla! It always makes my day hearing that. Vulpi is out now (it came out about a week ago), so you should be able to find it in your library, bookshop or online. Fingers crossed you like it just as much. Thank you for getting in touch!
      Kate G x

  10. Hi, Kate
    Where do you get your inspiration from? I’m a girl whose only interest is books and I’m planning on writing one in the future (when Im a little older) I think thyla is the greatest book of our time and being able to talk to the author is fantastic! Love ya heaps 🙂

    1. Hi Meg,
      That’s a great (and difficult), question! I get my inspiration from EVERYWHERE. Music, paintings, travelling around, just looking out the window! Sometimes ideas for stories even come to me in dreams. Do you carry around a notebook? That’s the best advice I can give. Don’t let anything pass you by. If you see an interesting person, or hear a great piece of music that gives you goosebumps, write it down. If your brain is anything like mine, you’ll forget it if you don’t! I’m lucky to live in Tassie where there is so much inspiration in the natural world. The inspiration for Thyla came from just looking up at Mount Wellington and imagining what might be hiding up there in the trees. Hope that helps! I just think as a writer you need to always be switched on, observing the world around you. Just sitting, staring at a blank screen won’t make a story happen, unless you have a superhuman imagination!
      I’m absolutely thrilled that you liked Thyla. I hope you like Vulpi every bit as much. Thank you so much for getting in touch!
      Kate G x

  11. Hey!

    I was wondering what the chances were of Thyla being released on the kindle. I saw Vulpi there and am super interested, but I can’t find Thyla in the bookstores here!

  12. Thyla was a great book and i really enjoyed. Once Vulpi comes out I’m definitely going to buy it on the first day and read it on that day.
    One time I was reading the book and my sister ask to see it. I gave it to her and she read the first two chapters and had already figured out that Tessa was a Thyla and it had something to do with the past. She said that when she saw the words “camera obscura” she knew it had something to do with the past. Anyway I still love Thyla 🙂

    1. Hi Christine,
      I’m so sorry for the late reply. Gremlins in the computer ate it and I didn’t see it until now (grr). I’m absolutely stoked that you liked Thyla! It’s still amazing to me that people are reading and enjoying it out in the big, wide world! Fingers crossed you like Vulpi just as much! I’ll be interested to hear what yo think of Cat as the main character!
      You have a very clever sister :o)
      Thanks for getting in touch, and huge apologies again that it took me ages to reply!
      Happy reading.
      Kate G x

  13. Hey Kate,
    First of all I think it’s so amazing that you reply to all these people ! You sound like such a nice person which is refreshing because it’s good to hear that the person you look up to is nice! I loved Thyla, and have read it three times, and it’s one of my favourite books. I can’t wait for Vulpi! I hate waiting for books, at the moment I’m waiting for 3 different books to come out!! If there’s goin to be four books, I don’t think I could wait that long! Will each book come out in a new year? Or will some come out on the same year?? Not to hurry you or anything but I so want to know what happens!! I really want to be a writer myself and jaw so many ideas, I hope one day that my books will be published and be as good as yours! I love Tasmania, an go there almost every year because my Dad is on the Sydney to hobart, he races on Lahana. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Thanks for your time !
    Steph xx

    1. Hi Steph,

      Lovely to hear from you! I’m so very happy you liked Thyla so much! It’s always wonderful to hear such positive comments. And it’s me who should be thanking everyone for taking the time to get in touch with me. Even if writing wasn’t the most fun job in the universe, it makes it even better still to hear that people are enjoying what I’m writing!

      I can’t wait for Vulpi to come out too, and I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as you did Thyla. Being a totally addicted reader myself, I totally empathise with being desperate for the next book in a series, or by my favourite author. Being an author yourself (and knowing how long it takes to put a book together) doesn’t make me any more patient! But not long to wait now!

      It’s wonderful that you love writing too. As I said before, there’s no better job in the universe than spending your days making up stories. I hope you’ll keep at it because that’s the only way to get published. Persistence is everything because this can be a hard game for even the most talented writer. Keep plugging away and you’ll get there!

      I have heard of Lahana, of course! They did really well! Pass on my congratulations to your dad. And I am so glad you love Tassie. In my (biased) opinion, it’s the best place in the world.

      Thanks again for getting in touch and I hope all the books you’re waiting for are out very soon!

      Kate G x

  14. Dear Kate,
    My friend said this book was amazing, her favourite book….. and from what these people have said it sounds fabulous! I WILL READ IT SOON. 🙂

    1. Hi Amelia!
      I’m thrilled you like Thyla. It’s always so wonderful to hear! Vulpi will be out in March next year. I hope you enjoy it just as much! I’ve been having an exciting few weeks editing and looking at covers – it’s making it feel real! There are many wonderful Aussie books out there at the moment. It’s a great time for Aussie YA! You should try my friend Nansi Kunze’s book, Dangerously Placed. It’s one of my favourite books of the year!
      Take care and happy reading!
      Kate G x

  15. hey kate i love ur book i read it in like not even 24 hours i tried to put it down but i couldnt and when is vuLpi coming out i cant wait any longer
    P,S im re-reading thyla

    1. Lovely to “meet” you, Savannah! I’m so thrilled you liked Thyla! Under 24 hours is quite an achievement!!! Vulpi is out in March. I can wait either! Three Things About Daisy Blue is already out so you can ask at your favourite book shop and I’m sure they’ll get it in for you. Glad you like the title!
      Happy reading!
      Kate G x

    2. hey kate…
      i LOVED THYLA……..
      it was the best book i’ve read and to be honest that is quite a feat considering i am a very big book worm…
      i looooooved the book and i was wondering when the next book VULPI was going to come out (2011 or 2012 and which month)
      I love the fact that you are an aussie writer and putting australia out in the big book world
      thanks sooooo much
      please reply
      from a fan

  16. Hi Kate!!
    I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Thyla!!!! I just have one question!?! Is it prounced like tyler or thighla?????? Or is it something else altogethetr?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Anyway i love it and can’t wait until Vulpi comes out in February!!!!!! You are such a talented writer!!! I always thought from the first time the book mentioned Perrin that something must have gone on between him and Tessa!!!!! It is such an awesome book and i am actually doing a book review on it for english right now!!!! Thanks for the amazing book!!!!
    Love Jamie xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Dear Jamie! Hurrah! I’m so thrilled you like Thyla (which is pronounced Thigh-lah, by the way!) and it’s wonderful that you’re writing a review on it! I hope you like Vulpi just as much. I’m editing it right now and I’m a bit nervous, hoping people will like it! I’m glad you like Perrin, too. He’s one of my favourite characters. Better get back to editing now but thanks so much for your comment. It made my day!!!
      Kate G X

  17. OMG! Thyla is really awesome. I really like the Tessa / Perrin relationship. I like the fact that there are no gramatical errors ( that i picked up on anyway) unlike other books. How many book will there be in the series?

  18. kate, i just finished reading thyla and i can not wait till vulpi comes outtttttttt hope vupli is as good as thyla
    love Nydeeeeeeeng xxxx <3
    p.s. is there going to be more about tess+ perruen because they seem like a really good couple

    1. Hi, Nydeng!
      I’m thrilled you liked Thyla! As for whether there will be more Tessa and Perrin action in Book Two, well …
      You’ll just have to keep reading (I know, I’m a meanie)!
      KG x

  19. Hi Kate I’m in the middle of Thyla iIgot yesterday it’s so so so so cool!!! I can’t put it down, I love you writing!!
    I’ve searched the internet and everything but what is a Sarco and what is a Thyla?????


  20. I loved Thyla! It is the best book i’ve ever read. I flew to tasmania because my step-dad is from their and i bought thyla and i couldn’t put it down, I LOVED IT! I cant wait to go back to austrailia to buy vulpi!

    1. That’s amazing, Madyson! I still can’t believe that people I don’t know are reading Thyla, let alone people who aren’t even from Tasmania! I’m so glad you liked it!!!
      Kate G x

    1. Hi, Magenta!
      What a great name you have (I wanted to be Magenta instead of Kate for a long time after becoming obsessed with Rocky Horror). I’m thrilled you liked Thyla! I can’t wait until Vulpi is out, too. Unfortunately it’s not until next February, but hopefully the wait will be worth it!
      Kate G xxx

      1. i love magenta from rocky horror too, and I cant wait for Vulpi! I’m so excited!!!. (I have a afro like magenta too!)

  21. I have been writing a book for a while now and am having a little bit of trouble trying to continue with what I have got! I was wondering if i could send you what I have got so far so that I could get a bit of feedback?
    Thanks Eleanor

    1. Hi, Eleanor!
      I am so thrilled you liked Thyla! It really makes my day to hear that (doing a little bounce right now!). It’s wonderful to hear it from a writer as well!
      What I’d suggest as far as your MS goes is to send it to a professional manuscript assessor or editor. I wish I had the sort of skills those people do, but I’m a writer and not an editor. They would do a much better job of reading it than I would. There is a great service called Driftwood that you might like to look at ( And Sally Odgers in Tassie (a writer AND editor – clever lady!) does affordable assessments ( I got an assessment from her when I first started out and it was wonderful! Best of luck with it all!!!
      Kate G x

  22. I have just finished reading Thyla for the second time in two days and about to start it again and just found that I couldn’t put it down! I have decided to use it as an Other Related Text for my HSC and it fits perfectly with the Module- Into the World! I couldn’t believe it when my teacher said that we needed to find an ORT and I realized that I had one sitting on the desk in front of me and it was Thyla!
    Thanks so much for writing it and I can’t wait until Vulpi comes out!

  23. Thyla is my most favourite book ever – and I have read a LOT of books! I love writing myself, but I can never finish a book once I start writing.
    I can’t wait for Vulpi to be released, pity it’s such a long wait!

    1. Oh wow, Hayley! Thank you so much. That made my day!
      It can be difficult to finish books sometimes – I have quite a few manuscripts that I started and then lost faith in. My motto is “just keep swimming” (hopefully you’ve seen Finding Nemo so you understand that one!!!). If one doesn’t work, hopefully the next one will! Just keep writing and, eventually, you’ll get a manuscript you’re happy with!! It just takes a lot of patience!
      Thanks again for making my day!
      Kate G x

      1. Hey Kate!
        Thanks for your wonderful advice! 🙂

        I am actually reading Thyla for a school English assignment, we have to make a ‘book show-bag’ on a book we haven’t read before.

        Just wondering; do you know of a link where I can get a picture of the back of the Thyla book where the blurb is?


        Hayley 🙂

  24. Dear Kate,
    I read your book last night, and didn’t put it down until I finished it at midnight. It was amazing, I loved each part as I read it. I love to write too.
    How did you learn to become such a great writer?
    Where did you get the name Thyla? I’ve fallen in love with the name, and I was wondering if you made it up, or found it from somewhere?
    Also, if i used the name in a story, would that be okay? For a character. I doubt it would ever be published, but you never know. 😉
    I’m so excited about Vulpi, yet another name/word that looks beautiful. (where do you get them?)
    Will, there be another book after Vulpi, or is there only two?
    I can’t wait until February, I wish it was already in my hands.
    I think you have talent, and I can’t wait to see the stories you come up with in the future.
    If you ever have doubts about your story, always know that someone out there LOVED it.

    1. P.s. What was the picture that inspired your story? Is it the cover? Or another Picture? I’d love to see it if I haven’t already.

      1. Hi, Carma,
        The picture that inspired the story was a painting done by my very talented stepmother. I’ll take a picture of it and pop it up on the blog later today!
        Kate x

    2. Hi Carma,
      Thank you so very much for sending me this. I’m so stoked you loved Thyla. Sending a novel out into the world can be very nerve-wracking, and you’re always worried that everyone will hate it! So it’s really great to get comments like this, and I hope you like Vulpi just as much when it comes out. At the moment, the series is going to be four books, but the others are a little while away yet (I’ve only just finished the first draft of book three).
      I cheated a bit with the names for the creatures. Thyla is the first part of the technical name for the Tasmanian Tiger – Thylacinus cynocephalus. Sarco comes from the technical name for the Tassie Devil – Sarcophilus harrisii. Vulpi comes from the technical name for the fox – Vulpes. So, you see, I’m not so clever – I just copied!
      As far as your own characters, I reckon the best thing for you to do if you want to be a writer is to work on creating original characters yourself. Of course, you can take inspiration from characters in books you love (every writer does), but I can tell you are a good writer just from that email, so I reckon you should give a new character a crack! That said, lots of famous writers have started their careers writing what’s known as “fan fiction” which is fiction set in the world another writer has created, so if that’s something you’d like to do, I’d be honoured if you’d choose “my” world!
      Take care, and thanks again for your wonderful comments!
      Happy reading (and good luck with the writing)!
      Kate x

  25. I’d like to ask how you got your books out there and published as i am trying to do the same. our style of writing is similar so i thought maybe you could help. BTW GREAt book, couldnt put it down 🙂

  26. your book was amazing and detailed that it couldn’t help but suck the reader in. thank you. and can’t wait till Vulpi comes out!

    1. Hi, Jamie!
      I’m really glad you liked Thyla! It means so much to me that people in Tassie like the book. I love reading books that are about places I know and, growing up in Tasmania, there really aren’t that many! I hope you enjoy Vulpi just as much.
      Happy reading!
      Kate x

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