Date of birth: 13 July 1948
Place of birth: Wellington
Now living in: Waimate, with my husband and cat.
What is your favourite food?
Spicy foods - Thai, Indian, Japanese food. Tibetan momos.
How do you relax?
Read. Check out my favourite Internet sites. Sometimes walk, stop and talk to the animals. I like cooking and studying Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism.
Who inspired you when you were little?
For writing - I sent a poem to Enid Blyton when I was very young, and she sent back a very encouraging reply. I was very inspired by the fact that such a famous writer would send cards in her own handwriting to a young child
What were you like at school?
Very quiet and day-dreaming. My main aim was to go university to study English Literature, so that focussed my mind enough to study.
What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
My favourite subject was always English - literature, poetry, writing essays. I hated Maths, it always seemd so remote.
What was the book you most loved as a child?
Different books at different times, but Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, was a favourite for a long time.
Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
No particular favourite - these days my reading is mainly subject-based.
Why did you want to be a writer?
I've always written because I enjoy writing - television writing was fun and it was wonderful actually being paid to write. Book writing isn’t so well paid, but it’s great being able to develop stories and ideas that are different.
Do you have a special place where you write your books?
The living-room has my computer and desk; sometimes I sit in the dining-room and write/reflect on what I’m writing - my cat Shimi likes to sit on the papers there, though.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
The best is working my own hours and being able to get across issues I think are important, to young people who might not have thought about them before. Worst - the moments when you think you don’t have enough story content - then, of course, it seems there is too much!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
I'd always wanted to use my writing skills - and usually I can do the other things I want to do. My books combine research and history, which have always interested me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read good quality books - think about what you want to do with your writing.
This interview is from 2005.