Award-winning author Claire Zorn ironically had a panic attack during her first HSC English exam and ran out, never to complete the paper.
Now she has just released her fourth novel for young adults, has written and illustrated a children's picture book, and is in the midst of writing her first novel for adults.
"I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself in general, and I just wanted it to be really good," the Mount Ousley resident laughed over her Year 12 exam.
"I don't think it's a great way to assess ... especially like a creative writing exam, you're never going to have to write under those conditions."
No, novels take time to write, years in fact.
When We Are Invisible is the culmination of about 18 months' work and is set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. The storyline follows three friends as they flee chaos for safety.
Thankfully the onset of COVID-19 didn't have much impact on the book's completion, except home-schooling two children meant it took Ms Zorn a little longer than expected.
It's a sequel to her debut novel The Sky So Heavy and aimed at tweens and teens, and has so far been given the seal of approval by her 12-year-old son.
"He read the sequel a couple of weeks ago," Ms Zorn said.
"He was reading it at the dinner table but we had to tell him to put it down, he was like 'one more page mum'.
"It is annoying and disrupts life as a parent, but as a writer that's what you want."
She said her son was so keen he actually "snuck" into her writing room a while back and read through some notes on a whiteboard, so was "taken aback" when the ending took a different course than expected.
"He's pretty good at telling me what he thinks, he doesn't hold back," Ms Zorn said.
The writer said getting in the headspace of a young adult had always been a bit of a "juggle" to ensure her writing wasn't beyond their comprehension. But as her eldest is reaching teenage years it'll get easier.
Regardless of the challenges to write for a younger audience, Ms Zorn's three previous novels have won or been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers (for One Would Think The Deep).
Currently Ms Zorn is in the midst of writing her first novel for adults, and will be "very different" to anything she has written before.
When We Are Invisible is out through University of Queensland Press.