Dr Toula Gordillo was born in Brisbane, Australia. She grew up travelling the country with a nature-loving father narrating stories, songs and poetry, and a mother who taught her music and distance education. The family eventually settled on the Great Dividing Range: a city called Toowoomba. Toula’s own life, in many ways, is as diverse as the protagonists in this book. Like Jack and Emily who also ‘lived’ west of the Range, Dr Gordillo followed a dream, escaping to an alternate reality through fantasy to cope with adversity during the teen years.
At seventeen, Toula and her mother moved to Katherine in the Northern Territory. Here, Toula attended Katherine State High School and was exposed to the storytelling method of the Territory’s First Nation’s population. In one of the most remote regions of Australia, living and working in a predominantly indigenous community, combined with her father’s passion for storytelling, Toula came to appreciate the value of using ancient ‘fantastical’ stories and images to pass on important information and knowledge.
As a young undergraduate psychology student, Toula was briefly introduced to the work of Carl Jung. Years later, studying a Doctor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, she understood Jung’s premise. That is, conscious awareness of myth-based fantasy can not only help to explain ‘reality’,  but it is vital for health and healing.
Dr Gordillo witnessed the curative power of combining mythic fantasy with reality firsthand in her varied careers as a teacher, Guidance Officer Intensive Behaviour Support (GOIBS) and Acting Head of Student Services in some of the largest state high schools in Australia. Assigned to only the most difficult cases, principals called Toula ‘the pointy end of the stick’. For her, the ‘stick’ was a wand: a suite of fantasy-based stories and images that she used to transform young people’s lives.
Today, as a practicing Clinical psychologist and Jungian psychotherapist specialising in children and youth, Dr Gordillo continues to develop innovative ancient stories and images as part of her Universal Psychology and Story Image Therapy® (SIT) method. She has dedicated the rest of her life to helping to improve young people’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health through mythic fantasy. For more information, see http://www.toulagordillo.com.
 As in one’s perception of reality, rather than reality as an absolute construct.