Ask the Author


Q. Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I've written and illustrated 8 children's books (well, 6 really as 2 are Spanish translations).  I'm from New Zealand but currently live in Andalusia, Spain.  I publish in all ebook formats and in print.   Each book has a different illustration style but generally I like to use a lot of colour and a range of textures. So far all my stories are told in rhyme or at least alliteration.

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
Too many to choose, but they are ALL picture books. Grown-up books make me sleepy (and there are no pictures!). As all kiwi kids will probably say I really like BAD JELLY THE WITCH by SPIKE MILLIGAN. I just checked the book to see if it was still awesome after so many years, and it was!

Q. What inspires your writing?
My kids provide an endless source of material for picture books. The way they react to different things lets me know what is important in their world and those things become important to my books too.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I love the flexible timetable. It's also very creative, but not in an exhausting way, as some creative professions can be. It's really as intense or laid back as you want it to be.

Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
The administrative side is hard, book listings, advertising, networking all require a lot of screen time. It's not my favourite thing to do.

Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
Microbiologist, Nutritionist, or Interpreter

Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
I'm a lot like one of my friendly bacteria from MEET BACTERIA!

Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
I like the Fidgety Itch, Ferninand and covers illustrated by Axel Scheffler, to name a few. I like what I like but I suppose in general I'm attracted to covers with strong illustrations.

Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
Never done one, you see I'm in a bit of a pickle because I write in English but live in a country where no one speaks it. Read alouds of my books are complicated, not impossible, but complicated.

Q. Are you working on something new?
I have to translate the MUMMY NATURE series into Spanish then I have two little hot potatoes waiting to be written. One will be mixed media, the other watercolour. Can't wait!

Q. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nope, I guess I'm pretty normal, although because of a lack of quality writing time and space, sometimes I have to write while cooking.

Q. What authors, or books have influenced you?
There are many books that have made an impression on me, but each for different reasons. I like the classics eg. Dr Seuss - meaningful nonsense, timeless and perfect. More recently I have been blown away by Katz Cowley's illustrations.

Q. Do you have any advice for new authors?
Sometimes the desire to get your book out there is overwhelming, but take your time, don't publish until your book is ready.  Writing/illustrating your masterpiece is only the beginning, then the real work begins.  Fortunately there are loads of great people and resources to help you achieve your goals.

Q. What are you reading now?
If I'm honest I only really read children's books with my kids but I love reading them.  Right now we are into DOWN BY THE COOL OF THE POOL by TONY MITTON and GUY PARKER-REES.

Q. What's next for you as a writer?
Writing, drawing, painting, editing...promoting,promoting,promoting.
I really like the path I'm on (except that promoting is very hard work).  I want to publish all the books that I have in my "to be finished" folder and that will keep me busy for quite a while.  In the future  I would love to do pop-up books or something interactive and really special for kids.

Q. What is your favorite season?
Back home in New Zelanad I loved summertime, but summer here in Spain is unbearably hot. I'll take autumn, September is the best.

Q. What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don't Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly - Nick Sharratt