Hello from Sue

Hello there! What a treat to be invited to have a virtual chat with all you Christchurch booklovers. I hope we’re going to have plenty of fun together over the next month. Fun and … spine tingles. Do you believe in ghosts? Oh yes, and rabbit chat.

By now you’re probably wondering, who is this slightly mad-sounding person who’s invaded our blog? Well, your lovely library is calling me a “star” author. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve written a few books, but I’m not exactly J.K. Rowling or Margaret Mahy. On the star scale they’d be red giants, whereas I’m more of a white dwarf, visible only through a powerful telescope.

Like most authors (apart from the red giants), I have another job as well as writing. Mine isn’t quite as exciting and cool as last month’s star author, Tania Hutley, who makes computer games. No, mine is, ahem, book editing. You know how your teacher goes through your wonderful stories and covers them with annoying red scribbles, correcting your spelling and telling you when you should have started a new paragraph? Something like that. Sound boring? Well it isn’t really, because think of it this way – my job is READING BOOKS!

But back to the writer bit of me. I’ve written a few educational books (no yawning please), and several (cue spooky music) ghost stories. Do you like ghost stories? I’ve always loved them, though I’m a complete chicken when it comes to things spooky. I’m the one who jumps the most in scary movies, and I need to hug at least two cushions to get me through the creepiest parts (you know, where someone goes into a haunted house and you’re shouting “Don’t go in there!” at the telly.)

My most recent spine chiller is called The Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head. If you know what/where Young Nick’s Head is, award yourself some chocolate for general knowledge smartipantsness. If you don’t … well, you’ll have to visit me again over the next week or two, when all will be revealed. If you fancy a read of the book in the meantime, you can of course request it from your library, or head on over to NZBooklovers.com to be in to win a copy.

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My other recent book you may have seen is Our Children Aotearoa. Writing this was a dream project, as I got to travel all over New Zealand interviewing and photographing children from all walks of life. It made me realise what a fantastic place New Zealand is for kids to grow up in – I hope you realise how lucky you are! (Actually, when I say “all over New Zealand”, there was a certain city I didn’t manage to visit. You can guess which one. I’m sorry, Christchurch, all right?! I’ll make it up to you I promise!)

What else can I tell you about myself? I live in Auckland, and have two teenage children. We also have a dwarf lop-eared rabbit called Tog, who likes to sit at my feet while I’m writing. I will tell you more about him in my next blog. Here’s a photo of Tog to be going on with.

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I’ve lived in New Zealand for some years now. I came here from England, where my home town is Rugby. Yes folks, that’s where your favourite game began. There’s a big posh school, Rugby School, in the centre of town, and nearly 200 years ago a group of schoolboys were playing football when one of them, William Webb Ellis, caught the ball in his hands and ran towards the goal. Or so legend has it. (I always wonder why the other boys didn’t just yell “Foul!” and send him off!)

In between leaving Rugby and arriving in New Zealand, I worked at London Zoo (yes, it was as much fun as it sounds), travelled the world for a year, and then worked at Dorling Kindersley Children’s Books – you know, they produce those really cool non-fiction books, like Incredible Cross-Sections. Because of my background at the Zoo, and general obsession with animals, Dorling Kindersley gave me natural history books to work on. The first series involved photographing lots of creepy crawlies, and so it was that I found myself encouraging a tarantula out of its hidey-hole, and being asked to hold a giant prickly stick insect while the photographer sorted out his camera. See – “editing” can be exciting!

So there you are, a potted history of me. I will be back soon with more on ghosts, rabbits, books, and anything else that springs to mind in May. Catch you later!

 

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