My second post for New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging week (Sep 13-19).
In some ways, your first novel is a lot like your first love – it changes your whole life, you never forget it, but it is rarely ‘the one’. Lifelines was such for me.
It was the first novel I’d written since my early teens, and the first thing I’d ever set in New Zealand. The novel begins in Auckland, but soon traverses down the country into pretty much the middle of nowhere. It’s a story about family – the blood kind, and the kind you choose – and a woman who is following her sister’s dying wish, even though it will no doubt bring her into danger.
I had so much fun researching for the novel – making sure my travel times were accurate, infusing it with my personal knowledge and experience of travelling in my country, but most of all, the knowledge I gained of the Patupaiarehe. I had gone in search of some beings to use in my story, and they were a perfect fit.

image courtesy of

Mine aren’t blue, by the way, but it’s a neat stamp nonetheless.
I’d never heard of them before I went looking, and it proved to me that there was so much to be discovered about my own country – how many other creatures had I not heard of? How many legends unexplored?
My first novel made me a writer, it got me into the habit and changed my whole life – but it also opened my eyes to my own country.
Once upon a time I was a teenager who thought that New Zealand was boring. I mean, we have very few animals which might kill us – no lions, no tigers, no bears (oh my!). We don’t have Stonehenge, or pyramids. Psh. Boring
Now I know just how naive I was. New Zealand is full of intriguing places and stories, its history might not be as long or as well known as other countries, but what we have is unique, it’s ours and one of the ways we can own that, honour that, is through our writing.