Snapped in my natural habitat – by the sea on a windy day.

My studio. Not a bad view, but a tad distracting when I'm on a deadline.

My studio. Not a bad view, but a tad distracting when I'm on a deadline.

Wet, wild, and one of the great experiences of my life. Auckland Islands, 2016. (Photo: Derek L.)

Wet, wild, and one of the great experiences of my life. Auckland Islands, 2016. (Photo: Derek L.)

About me

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents were writers, so reading and writing were definitely encouraged while I was growing up. My first article was published in 2000 in the NZ Herald, a travel piece about a year I spent in Berlin working as an English teacher. I loved the buzz of seeing my writing in print, and in 2002 I completed a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from AUT. Since then I have worked as a magazine writer, web writer/editor, and content marketer for companies such as TVNZ, Xero, Trade Me, StarNow, Expatica, and Bauer Media (publisher of lifestyle magazines such as Taste and NEXT).

My first book was published in 2014, The Tale of the Anzac Tortoise, illustrated by former NZ Defence Force artist Matt Gauldie. We created it to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. The book includes my family story about a tortoise from Gallipoli who was brought to NZ after WW1 by my great-great aunt, Nora Hughes, a nurse in Cairo. It was well-received and featured on Newshub's 'Great War Stories'  series in 2015. 

My second book was published in 2018, a history book about the subantarctic islands called Trial of Strength, which included another family story – this time about my British ancestors and their ill-fated residence on the Auckland Islands. I visited the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island in 2016, and the experience changed my life. I fell in love with the wild, uninhabited islands and since then I have given talks about my journey and become more involved in local conservation. I am passionate about sharing the incredible history of these islands, and raising awareness of their fragility and their unique flora and fauna.

I write from my studio in Wellington. I have two young daughters and in my spare time I do yoga, go to the gym, knit, sew, watch Netflix, drink coffee, and read (not all at once). I like cold weather, being near the ocean, and learning about remote locations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my next book (for adults) will also involve history and remote locations!

I'm on LinkedIn (professionally), Twitter (rarely), and Instagram (increasingly).