Name: Mandy Hager
Date of birth: 26 July 1960
Place of birth: Levin
Now living in: Wellington
- What is your favourite food?
- Crusty bread, strong cheeses, salad and olives
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- My real name is Amanda - I only get called this when I’m in big trouble! Mandy is my nick-name but everyone uses it!
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- While travelling around America when I was 18 years old, we stopped to camp in New Mexico. While I was cleaning my teeth in a weird-looking basin in the toilet block, two men came in. I glared at them, thinking they were creeps! Only when I left did I realise it was the men’s toilet - and the weird-looking basin was a wall urinal! Yuk!
- How do you relax?
- Reading. Listening to opera and classical music. Gardening. Laughing with my two teenage kids!
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- My mother. She was always doing something interesting or learning something new. She was so different from everyone else’s mother - very "un-motherly" (!) yet totally loving.
- What were you like at school?
- Quiet and hard-working. A bit shy.
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Most hated - typing. I did it for a year and nearly went nuts! Now, of course, I wish I'd learnt it better!
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- All Dr Seuss books. I still believe "a person’s a person no matter how small". Also, C.S. Lewis - the Narnia stories.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- My Austrian grandfather. He died before I was born.
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- My favourite New Zealand author for both adults and children is Maurice Gee. He’s amazing!
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- It is just something I've always done. I don’t feel happy unless I’m writing something. Right now I like jotting down poems in my spare time.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- Yes. I have a "loft" at the top of our house - a tiny space that has 180° views. It’s a very magic place.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- The best thing is that writing makes me feel so completely happy and alive. The worst thing is when I think I've written something really good but no-one else does!
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- An opera singer. I think that to sing really well must be the most amazing, magical, joyous feeling in the world.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Write, write, write! Never give up. Write for yourself - to please yourself. A great thinker called Edward de Bono once said:
A self which only exists in the approval of other individuals, is not a real self.
Think about what this means - then live by it!
This interview is from 2002.