Sunday, 7 June 2015

New novel, new website, new destination

It's been an exciting month. My new novel, Evie's War, is just a few weeks away (advance copies look great), I'm about to head off on an amazing trip (Africa here I come), and my new website is now live.
I'll no longer be using blogspot, but you'll be able to find all the information here and so much more at

Come by and say hello...

Friday, 17 April 2015

Anzac Day - and a new book

When I was a child my family marked Anzac Day, 25 April, by climbing to the trig station on the hill behind our house. It was steep and - in my memory at least - often hot, in that blue-skied, bright, autumnal kind of way. Coming down was the best part - we generally slid, at some cost to our trousers, and with a degree of regret each time we discovered a seedling gorse bush tucked amongst the grass.
We understood that Anzac Day marked the blooding of New Zealand and Australian soldiers in the First World War, but understood less well that the Gallipoli Campaign was just the beginning of a costly and hideous waste of men's lives that would run on for years and that, though thousands of New Zealanders would die and be wounded in the Dardenelles, far more would be broken and slaughtered in the bloodbath of the Western Front in Belgium and France.
I gathered, like broken beads, fragments of my Grandfather's personal story of the war, in the Dardenelles and on the Western Front. As I grew older I tried to understand the impact his experiences had on his family at home, at the time and throughout his life. With the centenary of WWI approaching I became absorbed by a need to understand the First World War. I started to read - histories, diaries, letters. I visited the battlefields of Flanders, Artois and the Somme; I searched out buildings that had housed hospitals, empty fields that had hosted Casualty Clearing Stations, bunkers where men had sheltered and killed and died.
Evie's War, due out in July, tells the story of one woman's experience of those bloody and challenging years, of her coming of age in an era when the world was coming apart.
I can't wait to share it with you; it's a story I love, that I feel privileged to have created, and that has in some way helped me to understand, if not why we do the things that are are done, at least how we survive them.

Friday, 6 March 2015

SFFANZ Sir Julius Vogel Award shortlist

Donnel's Promise has been short-listed for the Sir Julius Vogel Award.

I'm looking forward to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SFFANZ Convention in Rotorua next month. Apparently cosplay is big - sure hope I bump into Risha or Muir...

You can check out the shortlist here:

And details of the SFFANZ here:

The Sea-wreck Stranger was joint winner of the YA section back in 2008. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Fair to say I'm a very occasional blogger. There always seems to be a deadline that is more pressing. Maybe that's as it should be: those deadlines turn into achievements. And here's one that I didn't post, and should have: late last year, iBooks selected Donnel's Promise as one of its top five picks of 2014. And that's got to be something to celebrate!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Recommended reading

August is always a busy month, filled with everything but writing. I have a couple of annual teaching commitments and no less than three festivals and two award ceremonies, all absorbing a day's travel to and from as well as the events themselves. In the lead-up to the days away I often find myself resenting the intrusion - until I'm standing in front of a group of students. Then I remember how much I love teaching. This year's Wairarapa Schools' contingent was very impressive, and their finished stories are starting to trickle into my inbox.

Speaking of which, stories aren't the only thing to be arriving. Yesterday I received this recommendation from Amazon... !

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Donnel's Promise

My new title, sequel to Cattra's Legacy, hits the shelves this week. This book seems to have come into being very fast - partly because I wrote it at speed, partly because in the interim I've been frantically busy - and on the other side of the world - causing time to concertina. It feels as if I've barely finished it, and yet here it is, a hard copy in my hands.
Looking forward to reading reviews and hearing from readers. And to the launch, which is delayed because of my stint overseas, but will doubtless be a heap of fun nonetheless...

Thursday, 5 June 2014

London Calling

Grubby old London is neither so grubby nor so ill-tempered as I remember. The crowds are worse - but a few blocks back from the Monopoly board streets you can find leafy little parks and quirkily meandering streets. Step off the footsore tourist trail and there are treasures lying in wait: Sir John Soane's extremely quirky Museum, the rooftop garden and woodland of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Ladywell's water meadows. It's often the small and unexpected that delights: scattered sunlight on Victorian facades, the soaring voice of a soprano practicing scales in a church, a late night meeting with a suburban fox.
The Queen was out and about yesterday. I didn't see her; I was busy admiring sycamore trees and a photo of Wilfred Owen.
The AusNZ Festival and subsequent days of meetings have been fun, fast and curious. This weekend I have something altogether trickier in mind: Winston Churchill and Will Shakespeare are on my meeting agenda - wish me luck; I've heard they're elusive. But here somewhere.