BookSeekers club members recently asked New Zealand Author Maria Gill about her books and writing.
How did you start writing and why?
From when I was a ten year old I knew I wanted to write a book one day. I always read and wrote a lot. Many years later, when I had children I began to put that dream into action. I completed writing courses, attended author talks and wrote every day. Books have been part of my life always and I wanted to see if I could do it. I thought I’d write fiction but I’ve found non-fiction so interesting and fun to write.
Of all the books that you have written, which is your favourite?
You tend to think the last book you wrote is the favourite because you’re so proud how well it has turned out and you want everyone else to see that too. So, that makes my two latest books my favourite: ‘New Zealand Hall of Fame’ and ‘The Call of the Kokako’.
What made you want to write books about famous people?
I had thought of the idea ten years ago but I was not ready as a writer to do it then (needed a few published books under my belt first). I have always enjoyed reading biographies and I’m interested in people and how they tick. I wanted to write a book that would inspire kids to think – hey, I would like to do that too – if they can do it so can I.
Why and how did you choose these 50 people for your book?
It was very difficult making the choice. I finally decided it needed to be people that 8-12 year olds would find interesting but they had to also have a track record (done internationally well or influenced NZ in a big way) and I wanted to have an even mix of females and males, and different cultures.
Did you meet any of the people you wrote about?
I met some of them at the book launch: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Peter Hillary (Sir Ed’s son), Don Merton’s wife, Shona McCullagh (dancer), Kelly Tarlton’s family, and I introduced myself to Rhys Darby at a comedy gig (and showed him the book).
What are you working on now?
A volcano book! While I was down in Taupo I investigated a few volcano areas and I’m hoping to go to White Island soon.
This Friday, July 22nd, is National Poetry Day. Can you write us a short poem?
I wrote this poem for the kokako – it’s a haiku:
In the tree’s glove
A grey bandit hops, mewing
Like a cat bereaved
Maria Gill will be visiting the Central Library on July 26th 2-3pm to run a free workshop for 6-12 year olds. With fun games and activities you can find out all about her latest books and how to write and illustrate. No need to book; just turn up.