Name: Joanna Orwin
Date of birth: 28 November 1944
Place of birth: Nelson
Now living in: Christchurch
What is your favourite food?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
My dog catching a duck in front of 400 people at Boat Race Day, Lake Rotoiti (Nelson) when I was about 11.
How do you relax?
With a good book when I’m feeling lazy; tramping in the hills when I’m feeling energetic.
Who inspired you when you were little?
A great aunt and an elderly friend, who believed in me and accepted me for ‘me’ - they taught me that it was OK to be yourself.
What were you like at school?
Shy, quiet, hardworking - but the other kids joined in the imaginative games I organised at school.
Nature and Social Studies - favourite.
Maths - most hated.
What was the book you most loved as a child?
Everything written by Rosemary Sutcliff.
Which person from the past would you most like to meet
Shakespeare - because of his amazing knowledge of people and the way they behave - knowledge that is still totally relevant in the twenty-first century.
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
Too many great authors to settle on one favourite.
Why did you want to be a writer?
To see if I could write books that children would want to read - to share ideas and the things that mean the most to me, particularly the New Zealand landscape and stories that grow out of living in New Zealand.
Do you have a special place where you write your books?
Not really, but my computer now sets the place I write - in my living room, with morning sun.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
The best thing - exploring ideas and finding out stuff.
The worst - not being sure the story is working.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
Anthropologist - studying now communities of people relate to each other and their environment.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read, read, read; write, write, write.
This interview is from 2002.