A frog brought Jane and Alexander Dudley together.
Jane was living at Purple Pear Farm near Maitland. She found a "magical frog" in her raincoat, covered in spots that "shimmered like emeralds in the sun".
Jane's sister knew Alexander had a lot of knowledge about wildlife, so she contacted him to ask about the frog.
A week later, they were shacked up together in Coolatai in north-west NSW, where Alex lives.
"It was a whirlwind thing," said Jane, who grew up at New Lambton.
Since then, the couple has published two books together. They recently won a Whitley Book Award through the 2019 Royal Zoological Society of NSW for their second book, Faunaverse - Wildlife in Poetry, Tasmania.
It features 25 poems about Tasmania's fauna, profiling species such as the Tasmanian devil, wombats, echidnas and eastern quolls.
Alex has worked for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service as an interpretation ranger every summer during the tourist season for 25 years.
"We spend two months a year in Tasmania," Jane said.
Alex is a zoologist who also works in environmental education. One of the reasons they live at Coolatai is that "it's a really interesting place for wildlife," Jane said.
"There's a lot of biodiversity here. Well, there used to be. We're in a crazy drought at the moment. It's like 50 shades of brown. It's pretty horrendous."
They went to Canada on their honeymoon recently, which was "lush and amazing".
"Coming back, it was pretty devastating for the brain. The creeks are dry and trees are dying en masse. It's pretty bad," she said.
Tasmania was a good place to write about wildlife because "it's the last place in Australia where there aren't foxes".
"Foxes on the mainland wiped out all medium-sized mammals. Tasmania is the last stronghold of some animals. There's really interesting wildlife there," she said.
Alex occasionally suffers from writer's block.
"Then I'll sit down and it'll take me 20 minutes to produce a favourite poem. I don't know how that happens," he said.
He said Jane was the reason behind the books being published.
"People have been saying for years, 'you should write a book'. And then Jane came along and actually made it happen," he said.
"One of the reasons the book came about is because one of the things I do as an interpretation ranger is read stories for kids, so they can hopefully learn a bit about Australian wildlife.
"It's actually really hard to find books about Australian wildlife that are accurate, fun to read and engaging."
He said there were some "very popular kids' storybooks that give wrong messages for people in national parks, like feeding possums lamingtons".
This was a no-no, unless you're one of those people who wants possums "coming into your tent at 1am". [Picture sugar-addicted possums on the rampage]
He knew from his own experience that poetry was "a really good way for me to learn how to read and take in a lot of information".
"I started writing poems about animals a long time ago. I'd use them in my interpretation. I guess it grew from there," he said.
We couldn't let Alex go without asking whether he thinks Tasmanian tigers still exist.
Back in 2017, we wrote in this column how a Maitland bloke named Christian Kropp twice saw a Tassie tiger "deep in the Barrington Tops wilderness".
Scientists say the thylacine became extinct in Tasmania in 1936 and on the Australian mainland about 2000 years ago.
"I work in Tassie every year and I speak to a lot of people down there," Alex said.
"I've had far more thylacine sightings reported to me from the Great Dividing Range in NSW than from Tasmania. It doesn't mean they're there. It is anecdotal."
Alex is sceptical.
"I leave camera traps in the bush for months and weeks on end [for his fauna survey work]. You do get things that you wouldn't otherwise detect - spotted-tail quolls, for example," he said.
"They're not quite in the same league as thylacines. Yet there's a lot of people who've never seen spotted-tail quolls on the mainland of Australia."
Alex spends a lot of time in the bush and does a lot of fauna studies.
"I've only ever seen two spotted-tail quolls," he said.
He said Tassie tiger sightings were "a tricky one".
"The evidence points to dingoes wiping them out. And there's certainly dingoes in the Barrington Tops area.
"But people bait for dingoes. The baiting they're using nowadays is 1080, which would be unlikely to knock out a thylacine. 1080 is a perfect poison for ferals because the native animals have evolved alongside plants that produce it. They've got genetic resistance.
"So the dose that would kill a fox isn't going to kill a quoll, for example."
With the baiting of dingoes, maybe just maybe, the mythical thylacine still exists.
"If there were for some reason really low numbers of thylacines around, they might hang in there. But until I see photographic evidence, a road kill or a specimen, I'll be pretty sceptical," he said.
If ever a species long thought extinct had managed to survive, it'd be "either there [the Barrington] or the highlands of New Guinea, I reckon".
"They would have lived up there as well. They were certainly in Kakadu. There's paintings of thylacines all over the place in Kakadu. There's only one that's available to the public, but I worked in Kakadu as a ranger and also did fauna surveys up there," he said.