Interview with Chris Gurney

Cover: The Frog Footy PlayerName: Chris Gurney

Date of birth: 16 December 1956

Place of birth: Hamilton

Now living in: Auckland

What is your favourite food?
My mum’s family roast dinners. A mixture of good food and loved ones is hard to beat.
Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
I was called Chrissy when I was young, and my family sometimes call me that now.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Ah, so many to choose from … But I will never forget wetting my pants in the staff room when I was in Standard Four (year 6) on dishes duty. I can’t remember why, just that I splashed a lot of water out of the sink onto the floor to cover up my indiscretion.
How do you relax?
Reading of course! Preferably reading at the beach.
Who inspired you when you were little?
My mum and dad. I had a wonderful childhood, I was very lucky.
What were you like at school?
I was very shy and quiet when I was young. But according to my High School reports I was ‘scatty’ and ‘could do a lot better’ (around about the time I discovered boys if I remember correctly).
What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
My favourite subject was English. And I hated maths, it just didn’t make sense.
What was the book you most loved as a child?
I can’t choose a favourite. I devoured all the classic series like HeidiPollyannaAnne of Green Gables. I also adored any story that had magic in it. I had a black cat who was my best friend and I thought I had magical powers and that fairies lived at the bottom of the garden. Actually I still do!
Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
I’d like to meet my great-grandmothers, who both emigrated from Ireland in the late 1800s. Their lives were so different to mine, it’s incredible to think how much things have changed in 150 years, especially for women.
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
Dr. Seuss. Young and old alike and generation after generation enjoy his stories. My New Zealand author hero is Margaret Mahy.
Why did you want to be a writer?
Because writing makes me happy. From the first glimmer of an idea, through the writing and rewriting and finally deciding the story is ‘done’, it is exhilarating. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.
Do you have a special place where you write and illustrate your books?
I write in my computer/sewing room, which used to be my son’s bedroom before he grew up and moved away. Sometimes I get mixed up and sit down at my computer to sew, or my sewing machine to write!
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer or illustrator?
There are two best things, one is finishing a story you really love, and the other is getting it accepted for publication. The worst thing is getting a story you really love and spent a lot of time on, rejected for publication.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
A mum, and a nana, which I am already. Lucky eh?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers or illustrators?
Keep reading and keep writing. Write a diary, a journal, write letters, write stories. The more you do it the better you get. Enter competitions, use every opportunity you can to write. And don’t get discouraged if you get rejections, be courageous and persistent!

Read some books by Chris Gurney

More information about Chris Gurney

Visit Chris’s website

Read posts featuring Chris Gurney from the Christchurch Kids Blog.

This interview is from 2013.

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