for doing that homework assignment that should have been handed in yesterday
In Dee Street Maternity Hospital, Invercargill, New Zealand in 1967
I grew up in Invercargill and went to Waverly Park Primary School (a five-minute walk from home), Lithgow Intermediate (a 15-minute bike ride into a southerly wind) and James Hargest High School (a 10-minute walk). I did a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English Literature at Otago University in Dunedin and graduated from Victoria University in Wellington (the final year at Otago was a lot of Old English – have you ever tried reading that stuff!).
Just out of Dunedin on a small sheep farm. We also have a few cattle (no dairy cows – I don’t want to get up early in the morning to milk them!)
Send me a plane ticket and I’ll be there, especially if it’s Italy, or Greece or somewhere else exotic and/or hot. In New Zealand I visit lots of schools thanks to New Zealand Book Council.
It’s a pen name, also called a pseudonym (which is trickier to say and impossible to spell so just use the words pen name). Ella was my great aunt who went to Otago University and studied English, just like me. I have some of her books with “Otago University 1909 – 1910) written by her on the first page. It’s very cool. West was because I wrote Thieves, my first book, when I was living at the time on the West Coast of the South Island. Lots of writers use pen names like John Le Carre and Lee Child. It makes us mysterious!
One husband, two children, one cat, two farm dogs and chickens (varying numbers).
I also work as a journalist.
Pizza, a perfectly cooked steak (medium rare), chocolate cake.
PE – I was useless at it. Don’t ever pass me the ball.
James Bond movie script writer.
When I was really young, I can’t remember what age. The first thing I ever had published (besides stuff in the newspapers I was working for) was in New Zealand School Journals when I was about 30. It was a play about the Santa’s reindeer going on strike on Christmas Eve.
Because it's fun
See above – and really? If your teacher wants answers to dumb questions like this tell them to think up something better!
I won the Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary in 2006. Thieves (2006) was a finalist in the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. Anywhere but Here (2008) was a finalist in the SFFANZ (Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand) Sir Julius Vogel Awards in 2009 as was Real Life (2009) the following year. Night Vision (2014) won the 2015 Young Adult section of the LIANZA Awards and was the 2015 Young Adult Children’s Choice winner in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults as well as a finalist for the judges awards.
I’m working on that one. If you’re a publisher contact my agent Grace at Curtis Brown Australia about this and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
I saw, by chance, a 60 Minutes documentary on kids with XP and started thinking – what could happen to a kid who only goes out at night . . .
No – how many murders can one girl see?
It’s all mostly made up. Except for Jim, the dog in Night Vision, he was our very first farm dog. And in Rain Fall there is a whole lot of stuff that really happened, like the penguin. But none of the people are real so if you live in Westport where the book is set don’t start thinking you are any of the characters!
I get to see them and comment. Most of the time the publisher listens.
No – not really. I can write whenever or wherever. I think it’s the journalist in me.
I don’t get writer’s block. I think it’s a myth, or an excuse.
I know, never say never, but I think it would be unlikely. I’m still figuring out how boys think – even after years of living with three of them!
The entire Children’s Library in Invercargill then I stole my older brother’s library card and started on the Adult Library (there was an age restriction on getting out adult books back then). I remember reading the entire Swallows and Amazons series which is about kids having boating adventures in England, The Lord of the Rings (which I vowed afterwards I would never read another book because I had read the best – I lasted two weeks), lots of sci-fi like DragonSong and Wizard of Earthsea, Watership Downs (which is about rabbits and not dragons) and some classics like Jane Eyre.
It can rain just like in Rain Fall, but not often. Once, when we lived there, it rained for six weeks non-stop. Westport also has beautiful sunny weather. We used to go to the beach lots to swim.