Date of birth: 22 October 1946
Place of birth: Remuera, Auckland
Now living in: Newton, Auckland
- What is your favourite food?
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- At school it was " Goss, Gossy or Mekon".
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- Playing 'John Darling' in Peter Pan, flown through the air on a wire in His Majesty’s theatre, I was lowered down and the seat ripped out of my pyjamas. My bare bottom was exposed to several hundred people. It brought the house down.
- How do you relax?
- By going to the pub or reading a book.
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- My mother and father, and my grandfather, and my teachers.
- What were you like at school?
- Academically excellent, until the fifth form. Then I discovered beer and girls. Used to arrange mediaeval battles between Standards 3 and 4 (Years 5 and 6) at Victoria Avenue Primary School.
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Favourite: Art
Most Hated: Maths
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- The Five Little Firemen, Tootle, The Taxi That Hurried - (Golden Books, Simon and Schuster). The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, The Gauntlet, by Ronald Welch. The "Eagle" comic.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine.
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- To share my imagination with other people, especially children.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- I used to do them in the pub. People would often come up, show an interest and offer ideas. No one ever spilled beer on my artwork.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- Unless you illustrate your own books you have to give 50% of the money to the artist. A writer can write a children’s book in a week. It can take an artist months to do the illustration.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- A demi-god. A happy husband.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Read everything you can. Be simple and plain. Simplicity is the essence of good design.
This interview is from 2002.