Raised an only child on a remote farm in North Wairarapa, my early education was through the Correspondence School in Wellington. Even early communication was through the written word, so I learned to read and write very early. Even better, my mother was a teacher who loved words – a dictionary has lived by my side ever since.
I was lucky enough during my secondary education at Iona College in Havelock North, to have an English teacher (who also taught History) with the same love of words, and this, together with the vivid sort of imagination a child on her own develops, gave me a driving passion to write.
I have a Certificate in Historical Writing and a Certificate in Proofreading and Copy Editing, gained through The Writing School, Australia. These were both two and a half year courses, gained through Correspondence. Also a Diploma in Creative Writing through the Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology, and have attended many Creative Writing, Structural Editing and Planning courses given by leading New Zealand Authors.
Through this I have been successful in having work published in various magazines and have now completed my first book, an Illustrated Historical Novel, set in Charleston on New Zealand’s West Coast in the late 1860s during the height of the gold rush. The sequel is running around in my head.
I was Chair of the Top of the South Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors from May 2011 to May 2013, and this gave me a great insight into the sterling work this society undertakes to support and help emerging and known writers in this country.
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Web Of Gold
In 1867 Charleston, on New Zealand’s West Coast, is a primitive place. Gold has just been found and hastily erected tents and tiny cottages are scattered throughout the roughly felled bush as hopeful miners swarm there in search of a quick fortune. Wooden shop facades line the muddy streets as Doctor Arthur Jones, his wife Felicity and their two daughters arrive from England to find only a tent to live in; an open fire their only source of heat.
Patrick Kavanagh travels the treacherous beach route from Hokitika to Charleston, lured by the promise of gold. An Orangeman, he runs up against fiery and resentful Fenians and is injured, resulting in a trip to the new doctor and a meeting with the doctor’s daughter, Amy. There is drama in plenty as love, stolen gold, and fire, not to mention a full scale riot, rock the lives of the men and women of Charleston as they go about their daily business, in a life very different from any they’ve known before.
Banner Photo credit Joyce Elwood-Smith