I love to be out in the elements.
I don’t wear shoes because I like to feel the earth beneath my feet. I need that connection, that bond or I fear I might drift off into the sky and become blind to reality, surrounded by beautiful daydreams instead.
It would be pleasant, but for now I need to be here on the ground.
This is all part of what growing up in New Zealand means for me. I was raised to be a ‘wild baby’ (as my mother would say) at the foot of Mount Taranaki. I spent many days at the beach, the tang of salt water embedded in my skin. My feet are permanently stained green and there are always knots in my hair, no matter how often I brush it.
So much of the land here affects how I write, and what I write. The landscapes of my novels and stories are characters in their own right and my writing comes alive when it steps outside the city limits. I’ve not spent a lot of time in big cities and I can honestly say that I tend to avoid them in my writing too – they often feel a little flat, as if I can’t quite capture the life I know must be there thrumming away beneath the pavement.
Give me a small town, a village, hell, even a medium sized town but don’t make me go to the big cities. They are daunting.
No, give me wide open spaces, or the confines of the forest. Give me caves spotted with glow worms, give me thick black sand, mountain chilled rivers and eel infested lakes. In the depths of the woods is where I’ll find my doorways to other worlds, and beneath the green-blue waves of the sea I’ll be transformed.

My first post for NZ Speculative Fiction Blogging Week 2010, which is running from today, the 13th September through to the 19th of September.