What was your favourite subject at school?
Latin, without a doubt!
What’s your preferred way to relax after a long day of writing?
A long walk, and a beer or two while reading a book or watching a DVD.
When did you discover you wanted to write?
On a bus in the Syrian desert. Don’t ask me why it was then and there-it just was.
Happy or depressing endings, and why?
Definitely happy endings. I’m not into grim reality. I read for escapism, and that’s the kind of book I write.
What would you like people to get from your novels?
That’s simple: entertainment.
Do you write in silence or do you have background noise?
Quiet instrumental music.
Favourite song lyrics?
A song called Working by the Otautahi Allstars. The lyrics go like this: Hey, hey, I work all day, when I get home there’s bills to pay. Hey, hey, I slave all day, got no time for play… It’s an upbeat song, honest!
If you could write for any TV show, past or present, which one would it be?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I loved that show! Runner-up would be Firefly. Both, of course, are by the marvellous Joss Whedon.
We’re in the bar at a convention buying you a drink-what’s it to be?
A margarita or a beer. Or if we’re not in NZ, a Marlborough sauvignon blanc to remind me of home!
What is your favourite non-writing job you’ve held?
Probably my current one, working in Fiordland National Park. Beautiful scenery, and I love living off the grid!
What was your most unusual job?
A field assistant in Antarctica (for an expedition by my university geology department). My duties included fetching ice from glaciers to melt for drinking water and drilling toilet holes through 2m thick sea ice.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I have to confess, I’m not very exciting! I walk a lot and I do yoga, and that’s about it.
Favourite vacation spot?
Golden Bay, at the top of the South Island. I love going over the Takaka Hill to get there. Time seems to slow down. It’s laid-back and relaxing. There’s bush, beaches, art studios, and peace and quiet. My favourite beach is there: Wharariki Beach–wild and beautiful, with caves and archway islands.
If you could interview one person, past or present, who would it be?
Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
No, it’s not possible where I’m living right now. One day I’ll have two dogs and three cats, but for now I make do with other people’s pets.