Reaching Reluctant Readers

NSES Reading Blog

I subscribe to several teaching related blogs and the one I read this morning (and included below) reminded me what we need to do for our reluctant readers every day. Although it may be frustrating to constantly push reluctant readers to read, it is something we need to do and do cheerfully, consistently, and tenaciously.  It’s exactly what they need from us.

Practiced Avoidance 

by Lori Sabo

You are going to judge me and you will be completely justified in doing so.

I have a shoulder impingement injury. I have been assigned stretches and exercises, which if practiced daily will lessen the pain and bring back my range of movement, yet I don’t do them. They aren’t very hard. They don’t even take very long. I don’t have a single good reason for avoiding them.

How is it better to live with stabs of pain so intense that I go…

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World Book Night’s Top 10 Books For Reluctant Readers – reblogged from A Little Blog of Books

I am beginning to involve myself in writing for reluctant readers, so I found this list from World Book Night interesting. If you familiarize yourself with these titles they may indicate what sort of texts appeal most to reluctant readers.

Here are there top ten suggestions for reluctant readers (both adults and teenagers):

An apology: I failed to credit A Little Blog of Books for this blog. It was not my intention to plagerise, merely to pass the information forward.

Misery by Stephen King  – Obviously King’s books are not ideal for those who are completely put off by a bit of gore, but classic pacy storytelling and straightforward prose are at the heart of his work and I would recommend his books even for those who wouldn’t normally consider the horror genre. ‘Misery’ was also one of the World Book Night titles given away by volunteers in 2012.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe – I recently read Sillitoe’s collection of short stories but haven’t reviewed it. Sillitoe’s plain, vivid prose captures the gritty realities of working-class life in Nottingham in the 1950s. The title story about seventeen year old Smith who discovers a talent for long-distance running in borstal in Essex has also been made into a well-known film .

Whether it’s a psychological mystery like The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith or a fast-paced thriller like Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, plot-driven crime fiction is a good place to start when choosing books with strong compelling narratives. Alternatively, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon and Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer are both highly readable mysteries whose detectives both have Asperger syndrome.

This Boy

Rubbernecker Belinda BauerMisery

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – Set in London and told in reverse chronological order starting in 1947 and ending in 1941, ‘The Night Watch’ brings together the stories of four main characters and their experiences during and after the Second World War. Waters is brilliant at weaving in lots of authentic historical detail to her work and balances this well with engaging characters and strong plot twists. This was the first novel I read by Sarah Waters and I have since read all of her books.

I’m Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti – I read this book as a teenager and I think it’s a good novel particularly for younger readers making the transition from YA to general adult fiction. It has a very evocative setting in rural Italy in the late 1970s and the story is narrated by a nine year old boy who makes an alarming discovery outside an old abandoned house.

There are many non-fiction titles with strong narratives too. I would highly recommend This Boy by Alan Johnson which is an excellent memoir of his childhood growing up in poverty in the 1950s. Those who enjoy ‘Escape from Camp 14′ on this year’s World Book Night list might also want to try Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick which is another gripping account of life in North Korea.

Writing Scams

There are a lot of predators out there in Publishingland. If you have written something and are trying to get it published, you will want to be aware of publishing scams. Be particularly aware of publishers who want you to shell out large sums of money to publish your work. A rule of thumb is – money should flow towards the author not away.

For this reason, here are a few sites you may want to check if you are in any doubt.

(information from New Zealand Society Of Authors)

AbsoluteWrite – poetry scams
Fiction Factor Beware of Sharks
Poetry Scams.COM
Preditors & Editors – list of publishers
Preditors & Editors  – list of agents
Preditors & Editors – list of contests
Preditors & Editors – warnings
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Winning Writers – resources to help you identify scams
Writers Net – Noble House warnings

Writing Groups – courtesy New Zealand Society Of Authors


Northern Wairoa Writers’ Group
Meets 2nd Saturday each month at CMA Building, Tirarau St, Dargaville. Contact: Iris, Tel 09 439-8715.

Russell Writers’ Workshop
Meets 1st Sunday each month, 2 pm at Russell Library, Contact: Peter, Tel 09 403-8321.

The Writing Group
Meets 3rd Thursday each month, around noon in Whangarei. Contact: Anne, Tel 09 437-5062.

Whangarei Writers’ Workshop
Meets alternate Fridays, 10:00 am to 12:30. Contact: Derin Attwood at Pn 09 437-0257.

U3A (University of the Third Age)
Groups meet in Whangarei (Gabrielle, Tel 09 434-3935) and in Kerikeri (Bill Tel 09 402-6110).


Hibiscus Coast Writers Club
A fun group to share ideas with, participate in workshops and hear interesting speakers. We have monthly workshops; up to 6 internal competitions per year including poetry, short stories and drama, all judged externally. Come along for a visit at 1pm, 2nd Saturday of each month, Pohutukawa room, Whangaparaoa Library, The Plaza, Whangaparaoa. Contact: Neil Garner (present President) Tel (09) 427.4082.

International Writers’ Workshop
Meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, February to November inclusive, from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Tindall Room at the Lake House Arts Centre, 37 Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna. As well as workshop sessions we have several competitions a year covering a range of topics and themes. New and prospective members are welcome.

Mairangi Writers of North Shore
Auckland writing group formed eighteen years ago. Contact Jean Allen 09 473 5910, email…

NZSA Manukau Counties Writers’ Group
This group meets periodically and also organises writing workshops. Writers from the Manukau, Papakura and the Counties areas are welcome. Contact Jocelyn Watkin Tel 027 493 9851 or email

North Shore Writers’ Group.
First Thursday of the month, 7.30pm Highbury House, 110 Hinemoa Street, Birkenhead, North Shore. Contact Vonney, Tel 09 473 6216.

Piha Writers Group
Meets fortnightly 7.30pm in the Piha library to write, share writing experiences, read work and develop techniques. For more details contact Kath Dewar 09 8128 406.

Thirsty Dog on Karangahape Rd (corner of K Rd and Howe Street). Meets on Tuesdays at 8 pm. It is MCed by Christian Jensen (1st Tues of the month), Miriam Barr (2nd Tues), Renee Liang (3rd Tues), and Murray Lee (4th Tues).Contact

Rose Centre Writers
Meetings are held every month on the Saturday of the second week at the Rose Centre, School Road, Belmont, Takapuna. $5 entry fee. Each month the club will have a guest writer coming in to talk about writing. For more info contact Hazel Roff Tel 09 489 7203.

Sunday Evening Poetry
All Nations Tavern (formerly Java-Jive) for world music and poetry. Poets read for a half-hour slot. Contact Paul Varnham on 09 818 2497 or 021 1182825.

Waitakere Writers
Waitakere Writers meet the second Saturday of each month (excluding January) at the St John Hall, 247 Edmonton Rd, Te Atatu South. 1.30 – 4pm.  Fees: annual membership: $20. We welcome new members to our friendly, diverse group, where we share knowledge and experience. Writing expertise is not a prerequisite – just enthusiasm.
Contact Clarke James


The Coromandel Live Poets
The group meets on the last Tuesday in the month at the Pepper Tree restaurant in Coromandel Town. Meet at 6.00pm, readings at 6.30pm. Food and bar service available. Contact convenor John Irvine, telephone: 07 866 6789.

Franklin Writers
Meet at  Pukekohe Community Church, on 52 Franklin Road in Pukekohe, on Tuesdays between 12 noon and 2 pm for 10 weeks per school term. The charge is $15 per term to cover room hire, workshops and writing resources. Contact

Poets Alive
Based in Hamilton. A local poetry group that meets regularly.  Contact for details.

Hamilton Poets group.
Contact convenor Penny Wilson.

Raglan Writing Group
This group of published and unpublished writers meets fortnightly. New members welcome. We have been operating for four years. For further information, contact P Zohs.

Te Kuiti Writing Group
A group of enthusiastic beginner writers, learning under the guidance of a Tutor from the Waikato Institute of Technology, mainly by way of video conferencing. Meet at the Wintec – Te Kuiti Campus (Waitomo Learning Centre) Tiroa House, Taupiri Street Te Kuiti. Every Friday morning from 9.00am till 11.30am. Writing group members are willing and wanting to learn. Contact Elsie Blundell.

Thames Poets Circle.
Meets 4th Thursday of every month at 7pm, Nectar Lounge Bar, 740 Pollen St, Thames. We discuss, read and organise poetry, be it either original or previously published poetry. The aim of the group is to provide a venue for like-minded people, giving them freedom to discover and learn more about poetry. Once a year we host a Poetry Slam competition. For more information contact Greg:

Tokoroa Writers and Readers Group
Meets every 4th Monday at 7pm at Tokoroa Library.  Contact Mohan Lal on 07 886 5557 or 0211843886. Email:

Bay of Plenty / Rotorua

Meets bi-monthly on a pre-arranged date. It has an open membership (currently 65) and welcomes anyone with an interest in children’s literature. As well as friendly informal meetings they have an annual seminar featuring three top New Zealand children’s writers, hold a free writing workshop for year 6, 7 and 8 students during the July holidays, organise and update the Joyce West Collection of prize winning New Zealand children’s books (held at Tauranga Library), and are available for all events which encourage or promote reading e.g International Children’s Day, storytelling festivals, school book week visits etc. Awaiting the details for the new contact.

Rotorua Writers Group
Meet on the first Saturday of each month at the Rotorua Arts Village in Hinemaru Street, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. New members welcome. Contact Marj Giffitsh (President) 073456883 or Val Isherwood (Secretary) 073628763.

Matamata Writers’ Group
For more information contact Lois Fox.

Tauranga U3A Pen Whisperers
Meet at 24 Ocean beach Road, Mt Maunganui, 2nd & 4th Mondays, Feb to Nov. Contact jillian Brown,Tel 07 5765008
Tauranga Writers 
A self-help group established over 40 years ago. We get together regularly to exchange experience and expertise, discuss tactics and techniques and to share work in progress for constructive criticism. We meet twice monthly on the first Thursday at 7 pm and the third Sunday at 2 pm at The Alzheimer Society House, 116 13th Avenue, Tauranga. Contact: Jenny Argante (ph 07 578 8824, mob 022 053 48 68). New members always welcome – and please note: our main intention is getting you started and getting you published.

Whakatane Writers Group – Meet on the second Wednesday of the month from October 13th at the “Writer’s Corner” in the Whakatane Public Library. The meetings start at 11.30 am.
If you are interested in joining this writer friendly group please email or phone one of the contact people.
Awaiting the details for the new contact.

Central Districts

NZSA Central Districts Branch

Live Poets
A friendly group of Taupo poets and writers who meet for informal readings on the last Wednesday of each month at the Taupo Museum. We also organise occasional guest poets and Poetry Day events for Taupo, as well as offering readings for and with children, and in local rest-homes. We have poetry critique sessions for those who are interested. Email Geni for more information:
The Blair Logie Writers Group
Meets at the Genealogical Centre, Queen Street, Masterton on the last Friday of each month from 2:00 pm till 4:00 pm. All welcome. Tel 06 378-9495 or 06 378-6423 for further details.

Wanganui Writers
Meet for support and networking on the last Thursday of each month 7 – 9pm at Gifford House, cnr Dublin and Pitt Streets, Wanganui. Contact is Valerie Cowan, phone 06 3450456.


Petone (Hutt Valley) – HV Writers Group 
Meets every fourth Saturday at 11am at the Petone Community House, 6 Britannia Street.

Levin – Horowhenua Writers’ Group
Meets first Thursday of every month at 1.30 pm at Thompson House, Levin. Contact  Bill Pratt.

Lower Hutt – Pub Poets
Murphy’s Bar in Angus Inn, Waterloo Road. First Monday of the Month (Feb to Nov), 7 p.m. For the over 18’s. Great place for open mic readings as well as guest readings.

Ngaio Writers
Meets twice a year for mutual recognition and encouragement and to emphasise the link of living in Ngaio. Open to all writers — of whatever kind and whatever level of practice – who live in Ngaio. Membership is free. Contact: John McInnes 479-5710.

NZ Poetry Society
The Society holds a public meeting on the third Monday of each month from February to October, at 7.30pm in The Greta Fernie Room, Leuven Belgian Beer Cafe, cnr Featherston & Johnston Sts, Wellington.

Petone Writers
Meets at the Petone Community House, 6 Britannia St on the 4th Saturday of each month, from 11-12.30.

“Spread the Word”
Poetry evenings at Tupelo, 6 Edward Street, the second Tuesday of every month. Organised readers and open mic. If you are interested in reading, contact Nick on 021 267 6442. Otherwise just turn up to listen.

Storytellers Café
Meets at the New Arts Centre at 61-63 Abel Smith Street from 7.30 – 9pm on the first Tuesday of every month except January, the cafe is open to everyone. Each month a different teller takes the stage, and there is always room for offerings from the audience. Cost is $5, tea, coffee and nibbles are provided. Contact 021 687 627 Tel O4 387 8284.

Upper Hutt Writers Group
Meets 10.30am to about 2pm on the 2nd Sunday of each month. At the Art Society Rooms, Ward Street, Upper Hutt. $2 for coffee/tea. Bring own sandwich lunch. Members can bring short stories, articles, poems, extracts from novels etc for reading to the group. Contacts:
Audrey Harper. Tel 04-970 6239.

Windrift Haiku Group
Meets every two months in members’ homes. Contacts: Karen, 06 364 5810 and Nola, 04 586 728.

Nelson / Marlborough / West Coast

Ashbourne Writers
Ten members, closed to any more at present. Contact Lindy Kelly at, tel 03-547-6404.

Boulder Writers
This group of writers based in the Nelson area is mainly focused on poetry, although fiction and non-fiction are also written. They meet on the fourth Saturday of the month to share and critique their work. Enquiries re membership vacancies can be made to Carol Ercolano at tel 03-545-0162.

Golden Bay Live Poets’ Society
Meetings are held in the famous Mussel Inn, Takaka, usually on the third Thursday of each month (check under upcoming events). The accent is on presentation of live poetry, preferably by the author. Everyone is welcome. Contact Mark Raffills at  Phone 03-544 4975 or 027- 2154969.

Marlborough Writers’ Group
This group meets every third Thursday of the month, usually in a member’s house. Activities include a short writing challenge, a guest speaker, or work on a chosen aspect of writing. Contact June Bowen on, phone 03-577 9035.

Nelson Live Poets
We meet monthly, generally on the fourth Monday, in a genuine Mongolian yurt in front of The Free House, 95 Collingwood St, Nelson. Our programme is: meet at 6.30 pm for a 6.45 pm start, with live music from a local singer/ guitarist to put us in the moo; first open mic session; featured member poet; guest poet; final open mic session. Everyone is welcome to come along and perform poetry or music, or just to listen. Koha entry.
Contact Carol Ercolano Ph: 03 545 0162

Picton Poets
This group meet on the third Wednesday of the month at 10.30 am at Marina Cove Library, Waikawa Road, Picton. They share their own original poems in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. New members welcome.
Phone Ruby Roberts on 03- 573-7437 or email

Writers of Picton
Meet on the first Monday of the month from 7-9 pm. They usually meet at Marie Higgs’, 15 Wairau Road, Picton, but the venue can change, so if you wish to come along please contact one of the following first: Marie Higgs Tel: 03-573-6939, Julie Kennedy Tel: 03-573-8281 or Irene & Peter Thomas Tel: 03-973-0638.

Writers at Lunchtime
This informal group meets on the first Wednesday of the month in the function room of The Prince Albert Hotel, 113 Nile Street, Nelson. Come any time between 11.30am and 1.30pm. There is a guest speaker at 12.30pm, but the purpose of the group is primarily social and visitors are welcome. Contact Chrissie Ward on 03-546 9818,

Romance Writers of NZ, Nelson Branch
Meet on the second Saturday of every month at 2pm at at the National Party Office, corner of Waimea & Quarantine Roads, Nelson. Convenor: Annika Ohlson-Smith, tel  03-548-5561, email New members always welcome. If you are not an RWNZ member already, you are welcome to join us for up to three meetings before deciding to become a member. At our meetings we catch up with and encourage each other’s work, do some writing exercises, critiquing, listen to invited speakers or sometimes watch romantic films together. Tea/coffee & cake is always offered for a gold coin. 

Writers’ Group of Golden Bay
Our focus is to review each other’s work and to discuss issues arising. We usually meet monthly in members’ homes. New members are welcome, and should first contact John Lee (convenor) at, tel 03-525 8110.


Airing Cupboard Women Poets
The Airing Cupboard Women Poets meet at 10 a.m. fortnightly at the South Christchurch Library, 66 Colombo Street. Phone Judith Walsh (ph 03 342 9881) or Barbara Strang (ph 03 376 4486).

Ashburton Writers Group
c/- Rae Magson, 41 Queens Drive, Ashburton. Contact Rae Magson Tel 03 308 8927.

Avon Writers meet on Thursdays at members’ homes. Undertake writing exercises, share and critique work. Contact Jenny Haworth.

Creative Writing Course
At Papanui High School in Christchurch on a Tuesday night from 7-9pm. This is a course where those who want to see if they are interested or have talents can test their abilities. Those who have done well and who are enthusiastic creative writers join the Avon Writers.

Methven Scribes
This group meets on the first Monday of every month at members’ homes. Contact Susan Sandys.

Small White Teapot Group
For those with an interest in writing haiku and related forms. Meets 7 p.m., third Tuesday of the month. Contacts: Judith Walsh, Phone: 03 342 9881, Barbara Strang, Phone: 03 376 4486.

The South Island Writers Association (SIWA)
This is a vibrant, friendly group that meets on the second Thursday of each month (except January) at 7.30pm in the St Mark’s Church Hall, 101 Opawa Road, Christchurch. They run monthly writing competitions for members, and judges talk to the group about their particular field of writing, ranging from poetry to short stories, children’s stories or articles. Visitors are always welcome. More information can be found at the website

Wunderbar Readings
Every second Thursday 8pm at the Wunderbar in Lyttleton.

Otago / Southland

Writing Dunedin
Supportive writing group for experinced writers meets in Dunedin at 5.30pm every third Wednesday.   Please contact: for further information.

The Back Beach Writers
Meet on the last Wednesday of every month. Most members live on the north shore of the Otago Harbour. Contact Nicky Chapman.

Dunedin Playwrights Group
Meets Thursdays, fortnightly at 7.30pm, at Allen Hall Theatre Rehearsal Room, Otago University. Facilitated by Anni Watkins, it is an opportunity to share work, knowledge and experiences, develop and socialise. Open to anyone interested in professional playwriting and its development in Dunedin.

Dunedin Writers Workshop
Writing is fun! Join a friendly successful group to expand your skills. Monthly meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30pm, at Mornington Presbyterian Community Centre, 16 Maryhill Tce, Mornington. Visitors. New members are very welcome. For more information please contact

Southern Writers NZ
A support group for writers of all levels and genres. The group’s aim is to support both published and aspiring writers by providing information on competitions, links to websites on writing and tips on how to present work to a publisher. It is also interested in setting up critiquing groups. Members are spread throughout New Zealand and contact is mainly by email.

Queenstown Writers Group
Meets every third Thursday in Queenstown at 5.30 pm. Contact for further information.

Upfront – spotlighting women poets
This is a Dunedin open-mike evening for women that meets on the last Tuesday of every month from 7.30 – 9.00 at Cobb & Co. Includes three featured poets.
Gold coin donation to cover costs. For more information, contact Martha Morseth.

Waitaki Writers Group
Meets in Oamaru 1.30 pm, second Monday each month. It encourages and extends writers, fosters constructive comment on members’ work. Contact: or Bruce Costello 0274 514 149

World Wide Web

The Kiwi Writers’ Cafe
website is a forum for all Aotearoa-New Zealand writers, or New Zealanders living overseas – or people writing about some aspect of this beautiful country.

Kiwi Writers
A writing group/website forum where the main focus is for writers to challenge and encourage each other to write.

The Logan Writers Guild Inc
Stories, poems and feature articles are welcome from members and non members.

New Zealand Travel Communicators (Travcom)
Travcom is a not-for-profit association of travel writers, photographers, broadcasters and travel-related communicators involved in promoting a high standard of travel writing, photography and publishing in New Zealand and internationally.

The Writery Massey University
The Writery website is run by Massey University but open to all writers, or anyone interested in writing. It has a real community feeling, with a forum, chat room, facilities for discussion and evaluation of work, competitions and information on writers’ groups around the country. For fun there is the random prompt, a never-ending-story and much more.

Write Better English
Write Better English is a new, free writing resource for writers and editors. The site is targeted Australia and New Zealand. I t contains word games and competitions as well as forums and blogs.

David Hill, New Zealand YA Author

Uma Krishnaswami

David-Hill1In connection with the Commonwealth Education Trust’s MOOC project, I got to chat on Skype yesterday with David Hill, YA author from New Zealand. The connection wasn’t great but we managed, and had a pleasant conversation about writing, writing for young readers, and the writing life. Many thanks to the tech team on the other side of the world! Are we lucky to live in the 21st century or what? 9780143307174I didn’t know any of David’s books before this. It’s always nice to find out about the work of others in our field, especially those who are writing from geographical perspectives other than mine. Alas, you can’t get most of his titles in North America but I did find My Brother’s War in iBook format. I’m looking forward to reading this historical novel set during World War I. It’s told from the points of view of William, who enlists eagerly, and his brother Edmund, who…

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An Interview with Peri Hoskins


, , ,

I’m very lucky to be interviewing Peri Hoskins author of the novella Millennium.


Hi Peri, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks Mike. You are most welcome. I was born in Wellington. I have some Maori (Ngapuhi) ancestry on my father’s side. Otherwise my ancestry is anglo-celtic. I’m a fairly standard Kiwi mix. My family moved to Northland when I was four years old. I grew up in Whangarei and after High School left Whangarei for Auckland University where I completed a BA, majoring in English and a law degree with honours. I was mainly living in Australia between 1985 and 2005 and I completed both my degrees at the University of Sydney. I’m still single, for my sins …

millennium cover

Millennium is a beautiful read, quite lyrical, colourful and descriptive. Did you have to work on style or did the language seem to come naturally?

The manuscript went through numerous re-writes. That said, the short sentences and short words were there at the beginning and they were still there at the end. The language came naturally, but it needed honing and editing, so quite a lot of work went into it.

Millennium is a novella. What does that mean and why have you chosen to use this form?

It is actually a novella-length piece of creative nonfiction, although I’m always flattered when someone calls it a novel or novella. It is such hard work getting real life to read like a novel or novella. Real life is often boring and anti-climactic. The hard work I refer to is making a slice of real life funny, engaging, poignant, and interesting enough to keep the reader turning the pages. The length of the book chose itself in that the slice of life I write about was short, only a few weeks, hence there was only enough material to write a novella-length piece.

What is meant by the term creative non-fiction and how does it apply to Millennium?

Creative nonfiction means material that is factual, based in real life, that the author has enhanced with among other things, his/her observations, descriptions, humour, digressions and insights into what is going on. It is the author’s enhancements that make the piece read like a novel.

The narrator, Vince, seems quick to judge people from their expressions. Is this the barrister in the author?

Yes, quite possibly. In addition, the characters encountered in Millennium are mostly all met in a fleeting, holiday context, and not seen again. First impressions have to count in such brief, fleeting encounters.

Discuss the origins and use of the inset quotes you have chosen. They seem to have a portent larger than the story.

The quotes come from ancient Hindu scriptures originally written in Sanscrit about 3,000 years ago. All these quotes pre-date Jesus Christ and the Christian bible. The underlying theme of Millennium is the quality of time. This theme does not really feature in Western philosophy or theology, it is however central to Hinduism. I therefore put a great deal of time into researching Hindu scripture to find quotes that in some way reflect the slice of life travelogue story being told … Yes they have a portent larger than the story because all human beings are ruled by time. In this way a private story is made universal … we can all see something in it that pertains to us all …

In School, were you good at English?

Yes, I won the school prizes for English, History and Geography in my final year of High School. I therefore decided to do a BA and the law degree was an after thought, a way to make money.

What are you working on at the minute?

What’s it about?

Im working on a full length autobiographical novel ‘East’ based on the five months I spent travelling around Australia in 1994. It is a prequel to Millennium and written in a similar style. Vince is again the narrator. East, is however lighter than Millennium and it has a different tempo, a different beat. I’ve released small parts of it to give people a taste and people really like it. It is in some ways an Australian ‘On the Road’ set in 1994. In a full length novel I have the opportunity to develop characters and round them out so readers looking for a bigger, meatier version of Millennium should be happy.

Why do you write?

I feel compelled to write. Writing gives meaning to my life.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I have to fit writing in around my barrister’s practice. When I have a trial on not much creative writing gets done. I generally write in the evenings and at weekends. It is difficult to write to a rigid structure because if I’m flat out doing legal work the structure goes out the window. That said, I’ve structured my legal practice with a view to allowing time to write, and that is working reasonably well.

Where do the your ideas come from?

My own life experience. I see plenty in real life worth writing about without resorting to fiction.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

My work is slice of life so there is a natural chronology to follow. Sometimes however there is a need to restructure or conflate events to make the story flow.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Simply by living my life and being born with certain sensitivities and a certain empathy for human beings and a desire to better know the human condition.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The hardest thing is actually getting the writing and editing done if I am tired or distracted and have competing priorities for my time. Being single is however an advantage.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Just write anything at all, complete rubbish if necessary, then edit the rubbish and keep editing it and suddenly the material is less rubbishy and before you know it you are through the block and writing again.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I like Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Michael Ondaatje and Jeffrey Eugenides among others. I like honesty, authors who tell it like it is. I see beauty in sparse, uncluttered writing. ‘Less is more’ definitely applies to writing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Print books.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Nothing at present, too busy with legal work and creative writing.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I have editors and proof readers do that for me.

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?

My current editor is based in Tasmania and was referred to me by a friend I met on Twitter. I wanted an Australian editor because ‘East’ is all about Australia.

For Millennium, I had two editors, both women. The first editor, Leslie Rubinkowski, from the Creative Nonfiction School in Pittsburg, USA, carried out two structural edits. Leslie was allocated to me as a result of me signing on for the Creative Nonfiction mentoring program. The other editor was Jenny Argante from Tauranga. I met Jenny via the writers’ collective Oceanbooks.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

Martin Taylor, an Auckland – based digital publications consultant assisted with the cover of Millennium. I told him the concept and his daughter Anita Taylor came up with the design. I was happy with that and it wasn’t particularly expensive. I am yet to prepare the cover for East.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes, but readers need to know about the book first, that it exists and has been well reviewed by a credible objective reviewer. The biggest problem Indie authors face is getting noticed in the first place.

How are you publishing this book and why?
(*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Millennium was self-published. I’ve not yet committed ‘East’ to any publisher. It will probably also be self-published.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

As a self-published author you retain the rights and make more money off each book sold. The downside is you have to do all the marketing yourself and arrange the production of the book and that is time-consuming. I see advantages in having a traditional publisher provided that publisher really gets behind the author both locally and internationally. That is apparently hard to find, many publishers appear to offer it and yet many authors are disappointed with outcomes.

How do you market your books?

I market via Amazon, Goodreads, the Book Depository and to Australasian bookstores via distributor Woodslane. I also market via Facebook and Twitter.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

First work hard on putting out a quality book. If the book is good, word of mouth will assist with sales. Other experienced authors say get a second book out and that will help as readers will then often buy both the first and second books.

What do you do to get book reviews?

Submit the book to professional reviewers, ask friends to read and review the book and seek reviews via a Facebook group I have joined.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

I have learned that not everyone out there in the world will like my work. It is better to first qualify that the person reading the book with a view to reviewing it is interested in the subject matter of the book. Millennium for example tends to appeal to those who are interested in the mind, body and spirit genre. Those people are likely to enjoy reading the book and give it a positive review.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

Yes, the press release for Millennium did help get radio and magazine interviews. Getting on national radio and TV is difficult, and there is no guarantee your publicist will obtain such interviews. I did not do a Goodreads book launch and the Goodreads promotion I did do had mixed results. With future Goodreads promotions I will better qualify the readers to ensure they are in fact interested in the subject matter.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Follow your heart and your dreams. Make them a priority early in life.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

No, I think that covers it – All good questions thanks.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

In terms of social media I’m most active on Facebook. Readers may friend and message me there. Millennium may be downloaded as an ebook from the Amazon link below.


Twitter: @PeriHoskins

Amazon Author Page:

Amazon Millennium print book:

Amazon Millennium kindle:

The Book Depository print book:…

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Introducing Tessa Duder

Backyard Books NZ

Tessa_DuderI think Night Race to Kawau was one of my favourite books many years ago – and I got four copies of Alex the Christmas after it was published, being a swimmer at the time. Alex certainly felt like a very popular book at the time and it was consequently made into a movie.

Basic Bio

You need stamina to write fiction.” ~ Tessa Duder (p.51, Beneath Southern Skies)

Born in 1940, she has lived in NZ, the UK, Pakistan and Malaysia and described herself as “a compulsive reader and library user from about age three.” (p.51, Duder, Tessa, pp.50-53 Tom Fitzgibbon and Barbara Spiers (1993) Beneath Southern Skies: New Zealand Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators. Ashton Scholastic: Auckland)

Duder’s own site, shows her to have been prolific and varied in her writing; all ages are represented and many genres, too.

alexHer work does evidence a certain love affair…

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New Zealand literature in schools: a survey

Erewhon Press

Erewhon Press is interested in developing resources to assist the teaching of New Zealand literature in secondary schools.

What we specifically have in mind is a series of concise critical guidebooks written by distinguished scholars and tailored to the needs of secondary pupils. Each book would focus on a major New Zealand author, e.g. Mansfield, Baxter, Gee, etc.

We are keen to hear feedback from English teachers on what you are currently teaching and what resources you think would be most useful to you. Please take our short online survey. If you’d like to share your views in more detail, you are very welcome to email the Editor at or leave a comment on this post.

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