I was born in Christchurch New Zealand in 1959 and I am currently resident on the Kapiti Coast just north of New Zealand's capital Wellington. I am a former journalist previously employed at the New Zealand Press Association where I was a sub editor and reporter. I have studied papers in Renaissance Literature and Twentieth Century Literature at Victoria University, Wellington.
I have also spent a number of years as a part-time song writer and rock musician and in the early 1990s recorded an album of original music with Kiwi Pacific Records.
I have had short fiction published in literary fiction magazines such as Landfall, Takahe and Bravado. I live close to the coast and enjoy walking in the summer sunshine on the beach.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't specifically remember the first story but I do have memories of writing stories at primary school and getting quite good marks for them which was encouraging. I remember when I was about ten I tried to write a science fiction book about faster than light interstellar travel. My ship's captain was called James Cook after the famous explorer who was the first English discoverer of New Zealand and the spaceship was called the Endeavour after Cook's ship.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The answer to this changes with time and circumstances but some of the books that have influenced me include; To The LIghthouse by Virginia Woolf which I liked because of its unusual style and its insight into its characters' minds. Middlemarch by George Elliot, a great epic that has great characterization and a fascinating plot. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, a wry and ironic style merged with a good narrative as well as commentary on the foibles and follies of the social constructs of the time. You can't go wrong writing about the search for love and money! Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, an in depth look at the emerging artist and his or her struggles to create their art or literature within a conformist and domineering society. The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield - she is a master of the short story and a pioneer of its modern form and I come back to this book often for lessons and inspiration.
A son returns to the farm and his domineering father; a woman facing redundancy recalls an affair and wonders what might have been; a landlord steels herself to evict a poor tenant; a journalist interviews his hero and learns that the great are only human. Twelve short stories where a range of characters struggle to find connection and meaning in their lives.