Name: Maurice GeeDate of birth: 22 August, 1931
Place of birth: Whakatane
Now living in: Wellington
What is your favourite food?
Potatoes, in any form, but especially roasted. I also like porridge.
Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
When I was young people called me 'Moss' or 'Mossie'. It comes from Maurice.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
There are hundreds. Once, at a party at Premier House, I said to a lady I was talking to, 'I don’t think I know your name.' It was the hostess, Mrs Bolger. (wife of the then Prime Minister, Jim Bolger - ed)
How do you relax?
Who inspired you when you were little?
My father, a real man’s man and a champion boxer. Also my grandfather, a pacifist who was sent to prison for his beliefs.
What were you like at school?
Top of the class at primary. Bottom at secondary. I worked my way back.
Favourite: English. I loved reading.
Most hated: none, but I was no good at maths and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t understand.
What was the book you most loved as a child?
A collection of Robin Hood stories. I loved the adventures and narrow escapes - also the idea of robbing the rich to give to the poor.
Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
A French writer called Voltaire. He’s my great hero. I'd have to learn to speak French though.
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
Charles Dickens. He’s good for adults and older children too.
Why did you want to be a writer?
To tell stories and make up people and invent a world, like Dickens.
Do you have a special place where you write your books?
I have a desk in a sleepout, where it shares the space with the garden tools.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
Finding out what happens next, finding the exact right word.
Not finding out is the worst thing.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
An astronomer or a physicist.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot, write a lot, keep on asking, 'What happens next?'
This interview is from 2002.