Shayna: What made you want to become a writer? What is your favourite book that you have written?
I wanted to be a writer because I loved what other writers had created in the books I loved to read. I wanted to do what they did.
My favourite book that I have written is A Winter’s Day in 1939, because it is my father’s story (Miss Szymanik’s grandfather) and I am so happy I got the chance to write about it.
Holly: Why did you wear book earrings?
Because books are what I love. And it just seems right that a writer should wear book earrings
Jade: When did you become and author?
I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was still at primary school but I kept it a secret for a long time until around 1998/1999 when I started writing more seriously and sending my stories to publishers and writing competitions.
Carl: When did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book in 1998/1999 but it has never been published. The first book I had published (Clever Moo in 2006) was written in 2004.
William: When did you write the Were Nana?
I think I wrote The Were-Nana in 2005/2006 and it was published in 2008. It takes a long time for books to be published.
Julius: What was the first book you ever read?
I am not sure which was the first book, but books I do remember reading when I was little include My Treasury of World Fairy Tales, Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Cat in the Hat and Come Over to My place. I love Fairy Tales.
Jordan: How long did it take you to write the Were Nana?
It took me around 8 to 10 months to write. I wrote it and sent it to the publisher, who wrote back and said, ‘we like this but it’s not quite right, can you change it.’ So I did. I sent it back and they said, ‘we don’t like the ending.’ So I rewrote it and sent it back, and this time they said, ‘we love it and want to publish it.’
Miss Szymanik: How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
I listen and look at what’s going on around me. I read books, watch tv, look at art, walk the dog and spend time with family and friends. I think a lot about things and I let my mind wander and then when I’m least expecting it, a spark will happen (like when this guy on tv one day said ‘What if your nana was a were-nana) and it ties my experience and my imagination and my curiosity together and I come up with the idea for a story.
Madison: Where do the books get made?
The publisher puts the words and the pictures together in computer files and asks a designer to make them look the best they can (where should the words be on the page, what font should they use etc..). Then the computer files are sent off to a printer (sometimes in NZ, sometimes in other countries like Singapore or China), who prints them on to paper and binds them into a book and sends all the books back to the publisher to go out to the shops.
Taoro: Where do you write your books?
Sometimes in our office at home, sometimes in bed (very comfy) and sometimes at the kitchen table. I always write on a computer although I often make little notes on slips of paper or the backs of envelopes if I don’t have time to sit down and write for too long. I always carry a notebook round with me too in case I need to jot an idea down.