I’m a huge fan of Des Hunt’s and I was very excited to have him as one of our Star Authors. I’ve loved reading his posts about creating a setting, characters and plot and we hope that you all have too. I’ve read most of Des Hunt’s books so I had a few questions that I wanted to ask him. You can read his answers here and if you have your own questions for Des you could add a comment.
Why did you want to be a writer?
Since I was very young I’ve been fascinated by science. I ended up becoming a teacher because I wanted to help others develop a similar interest. I wrote text books, invented electronic machines, created scientific games, anything that would help others understand the world around them. Eventually I turned to fiction. My specific aim was to feature New Zealand wildlife, it’s special nature and why we should take care with the environment.
What do you like most about writing for this age group?
Their open minds, their sense of wonder at discovering new things, and their willingness to be adventurous, at least within their minds. They’re also wonderful to meet when I visit schools and discuss writing. Even those who are not so keen on reading enjoy the chemistry and biology that are part of my presentations. It’s all part of the adventure both for them and for me.
Your stories are set in different parts of New Zealand. What is your favourite part of the country?
Any place that has a small population set in a wild place. If there are caves, geothermal activity, and native bush then all the better. In no set order my favourite regions would be: Coromandel Peninsula (that’s why I live here), West Coast of the South Island, Taupo-Rotorua, Kaikoura Coast.
You’ve just released The Naughty Kids Book of Nature, a non-fiction book about New Zealand wildlife, and your books feature some of that wildlife. What is your favourite native animal and why?
This one is easy to answer: the tuatara. It is a truly unique animal as it has no close relation left anywhere in the world. It lives to be ancient and as a child, I wondered if it’s third eye helped it to see things that maybe other animals couldn’t. My second choice is the grey warbler. It is such a small bird, and yet it’s song is one of the most commonly heard around New Zealand. One of my best memories as a naturalist is watching a tiny grey warbler feed a huge shining cuckoo chick. It looked after a different species as if it was one of its own. I think there’s a message there for us humans.