I grew up in New Zealand (called AOTEAROA by the Maori; it means LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD). As a child I would lie on my back and stare for hours at the wind-driven clouds overhead. I would make up endless stories about the pictures I could see in their constantly changing shapes.
What are the topics of some of your books?
I love fantasy and whimsical stories, but what surprised me most was discovering that I had a great attraction to writing historical fiction. History was a rather hated subject for me in school, yet here I was spending hours researching the past.
Where do you get your ideas?
The oddest places, really. It could be an interesting photo, an unusual sound, or even an odd statement I might overhear from a stranger. These become like triggers for my oftentimes, overactive imagination. Once it’s activated, there I am off and running into another time and place.
What gave you the idea for THE MYSTERY AT MARLATT MANOR?
For the first thirteen years of my life I lived in an old, two-storied house. There were six bedrooms and one bathroom, all at the top of two very long flights of stairs. There was only one bedroom that had electric lights; at night candlesticks had to be used for the other rooms. That house scared me terribly with all its creaks and groans and imagined ghostly footsteps approaching along the darkened hallway. Yet, in spite of all that fear, I now have a macabre fascination for old haunted houses. Go figure!
Have any of your books earned special recognition?
THE MYSTERY AT MARLATT MANOR became a Finalist in the Bloom Award mystery contest in 2011, and my MG soon-to-be released ANNI’S ATTIC received first place in the Young People’s Division of the International Peace Award. ANNI’S ATTIC also received First Place in the SCBWI Ventura Writer’s Day contest for MOST PROMISING MANUSCRIPT in MG.
Have any of your fiction stories been about real people or events?
Do you enjoy researching or do you prefer working totally from your imagination?
I absolutely love doing research, almost to the point of ad nauseam. But when I write whimsy or fantasy, I prefer to work completely from my imagination.
What are you working on now? When do you expect to start submitting it to publishers?
I’m about halfway through a fictional YA novel that takes place in 1814. It’s about a young girl who has been shipped by a cruel employer to the penal colony of Australia. There’s a lot of research I must still do for this story, but I expect to be able to submit it within the year.
Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share––hobbies, where you were born, special talents other than writing/illustrating.
As already stated, I was born in New Zealand and am descended from Maori royalty. My great, great grandmother was a Maori princess. I spent three years in the New Zealand Air Force, love to do Polynesian dancing, and also enjoy to act and sing.