steph maKUTu

“Garage Sale” Annual 2

I never wanted to be a writer when I was growing up. It seemed a terribly brainy thing to do, yanking books and poems and stories out of thin air like a magician. But one day, I went to see a stage play, and I liked it tremendously. I thought, “Gosh – I wonder if I could write something like that?” I went to a punk rock concert straight afterwards, and all through the head banging and guitar squealing, I was still wondering.

So I gave it a go. That first play was terrible. I never showed it to anyone. And I wrote another one, and that was pretty bad, too. But I tried again and sent it off to a competition, and it won an award! I was so pleased and surprised and happy. Since then, I’ve written lots of stories for young people. I get inspiration from that magic place where inspiration comes from. (I think it’s somewhere in my belly, which explains all the gurgling. Ideas yelling to get out, you see.)

I live in New Plymouth. I have two amazing kids, the remnants of many abandoned hobbies, and lots and lots of books. Although I didn’t write much when I was young, I read a lot. My favourite books included:

• The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Everyone says this because they’re awesome, especially The Horse and His Boy.

• The Halfmen of O trilogy by Maurice Gee. I loved the second one, The Priests of Ferris. I found it amazing that Susan had inspired a whole religion because of her exploits in the first book! And the main characters were Kiwis, which was also amazing – most of my other books were set in England or the United States.

• The Man Who was Magic by Paul Gallico, which is still one of my favourites today, along with Thomasina and Jennie.    

• Come back, Lucy by Pamela Sykes. Lucy moves into an old house and meets a ghost girl called Alice. Do NOT read this late at night!

• The Adventure series by Willard Price. Hal and Roger had so many amazing adventures with gorillas and pearl smugglers and poachers and buried treasure, I felt very boring by contrast

• and anything by Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.