Posts tagged August Star Author


Hi everyone, sorry for the silence at my end. I’ve been flat out preparing for the Auckland Storylines Family Day which I attended last weeked, and for the Christchurch Writers’ Festival which is on this week (August 30 – September 2).

I had a lovely time in Auckland, talking to kids and adults about Red Rocks, reading parts of it and talking about how I got the inspiration for it, including from my childhood holidays by the sea where I learned to row a dinghy and catch fish. Is there any other quintessentially kiwi childhood activity? (Actually there are probably loads!)

I do hope you are one of the lucky kids who gets to come to the Read Aloud Schools day on Thursday in the big white dome. I’ll be talking alongside Kate de Goldi and Gavin Bishop so it should be a fun and interesting hour.

I met some great authors for the first time in Auckland, including Melinda Szymanik (Were-Nana) and Leonie Agnew (Super Finn), who were both very nice. Melinda wore two brooches I wanted to eat – one looked like an eskimo lolly, the other just like a jetplane lolly. She told me they wouldn’t taste very nice if I did try. Leonie bought a huge plate of wedges and forced me to share them with her. Once I started I couldn’t stop. Thanks Leonie!

I also had a panel discussion with four other authors about the future of YA and we all agreed that it doesn’t matter what is fashionable, that we all just need to write the books we want to write and write them well. When you have an idea, it can be three years before that idea comes out as a published book, and if you try and write something you think is the next ‘hot’ thing (wizards, vampires, dystopia), it will have come and gone again by the time you finish it.

Well, I’d better get back to my work! Who knew that August would turn out to be so busy?

I hope to see you at the Dome on Thursday. Come and say hi!

Rachael King

Comments (1) »

About My Book

Hi again Christchurch and other kids.

We’re back at school in Twizel and I’m sure you are too! My class is busy preparing Science Fair projects. Wow we have been busy! What have you been doing?

Anyway, today I thought I’d tell you a bit about my book. Please blog and tell me if you have read it, or if you think you might like to read it …


The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound took me about one year part-time to write and a lot longer to edit and make good enough for readers. It was published by the wonderful team at Harper Collins in 2010.

It’s a ghost story and a war story and a story about the importance of peace and friends and family all mixed into one. I wrote it for boys who are about 10-14 years old but girls like it just as much and older kids and adults do too. It’s one of those books that’s okay for lots of people.

The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound is a fictional story about an 11-year-old New Zealand boy named Paddy, but part of it is about a terrible night in World War Two at a place that was named Savo Sound but is now called Iron Bottom Sound (can you guess why?). That battle happened in August, so Harper Collins released my book in August, and now it’s August again when I am Star Author, so I think that’s kind-of cool.  The night of 8-9 August will be the anniversary of the 1942 battle, which was named ‘The Battle of Savo Island.’  I will post that day and it will be a sad post. Can you work out how many years ago the battle was?  2011 – 1942 = ?  or you could turn it around: 1942 + ? = 2011  – Hey, you can tell I am a school teacher can’t you?

Anyway, the ship central to my story was the largest ship Australia lost in the war, H.M.A.S. Canberra.  Three American ships were sunk that night too. The Japanese were the clever ones on that wet dark night.

So … my story has:

1. A New Zealand boy with N.Z. friends and family

2. A stretch of deep water in the Pacific Ocean

3. Australian and American sailors fighting for peace and for their lives

4. A convoy of clever Japanese who sneak up and attack in the dead of night.

It’s quite an international story!

All of the history parts in my story are true – even the bit about someone getting shot in the bum (oops – I mean bottom) and about survivors being given frozen oranges (have you ever tried to eat a frozen orange?)

Ka kite ano – see you soon

From Sandy Nelson – your Star Author who lives in the land of tussocks and snowy mountains

Comments off

Check out our August Star Author – Sandy Nelson

We are delighted to have New Zealand author, Sandy Nelson as our August Star Author.  Welcome Sandy!  Here’s Sandy to tell us a little about herself:

My name is Sandy Nelson. I am honoured to be invited to be the Star Author for August.  Writing is my hobby. I am not a full-time writer. In fact I find it hard to find any time to write at all. That’s because I have two other jobs. They are:

  1. Being a mother to 3 boys. I am married to Dean. We have 3 boys. Josh is 15 and is doing N.C.E.A. Level One this year and working really hard. One of his favourite subjects is history! Kyle and Ryan are 7-year-old twins who love reading, rugby, skiing and being noisy. Ask your Mum or just watch her for a while – being a Mum is a busy job!
  2. I am also a school teacher at Twizel Area School. Twizel is the nearest town to Mount Cook. My school is the only school in Twizel. We have students from Year 1 all the way to Year 13 at the same school (about 180 students altogether). I teach the wonderful Year 4-5 class and also sometimes I help other teachers and kids with their work, especially in reading and writing. I used to teach in Dunedin at Corstorphine and Portobello Schools but my name was Sandy Holland then.

I write when I get some spare time. That’s when my boys are in bed and my school work is done and the dishwasher is humming (I love machines that do jobs for me!)

Here are some things I want to write about on this blog, in no particular order:

  • Why I started writing
  • How I got the idea for my book
  • Some of my favourite kids books
  • Why I think it is important to learn about history
  • Why Robert Ballard calls the sea the world’s biggest museum
  • Whether ghosts are real
  • Some poems I have written
  • My next book (sitting on my editor’s overcrowded desk, waiting for her to find time to read it!)
  • The story I am working on now (did you know that stories live in people’s heads a long time before they are written down?)
  • Some things I have learned about sailors
  • My very special Australian email friend, a veteran of the battle I wrote about
  • My favourite mountain hut (which is supposed to be haunted!)
  • Why I love being a teacher
  • What it is like to live in Twizel in the cold winter
  • My favourite ski-field
  • More about why Iron Bottom Sound was given that name

And other things that I haven’t thought about yet!

Please post your questions and comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Ka Kite Ano (see you soon).  Kia Kaha Shaky Town Kids (be strong).

From your newest Star Author,
Sandy Nelson

Comments (14) »

August Star Author Competition – win The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound

Our fantastic August Star Author, Sandy Nelson has been telling us lots of interesting information about her research for her book, The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound.  Hopefully finding out more about the book has made you want to rush to your library to get a copy (it’s definitely made me want to read it again).

We have 5 copies of The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound to give away, thanks to the wonderful people at HarperCollins NZ.  All you have to do to get in the draw to win a copy is tell us: What is your favourite war story?  Leave a comment on this post telling us your answer and make sure you also put your name and email address (so that we can contact you if you win).  Entries close Friday 26 August.

See below for terms and conditions   Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (17) »

%d bloggers like this: