Celebrating New Zealand Authors

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Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand Book Month!

To commemerate the event, us of the Admin are all writing a blog post about New Zealand authors. Now, I’m running a few days late with my post – but I assure you I have a very good reason. The reason being, I have finally broken free of my Writers’ Block and have been rather extensively editting my latest novel, entitled “Fellowship of the Ringtails”. It’s epic fantasy, with lemurs.

But this blog entry is not about me, I thought I would share with you three very good authors that write for the young adult market.

First up, we have Des Hunt.  Des Hunt is a retired science teacher who lives on the Coromandel Peninsula. He has written a number of books – which are mainly geared towards boys, aged ten plus. All are heavily based in reality, set in various rural locations around New Zealand – the West Coast, the Coromandel, near Wellington, Otago peninsula and they are fast-paced adventure novels. In many of them he also has a female character as well, thus adding appeal to any young girls who might be wanting something a little more exciting and realistic. One of the many things I enjoy about his books are the conservation messages, many of his books make mention of our unique wildlife, in some cases with the animals being a major plot point and he also includes aspects of chemistry, geology and other sciences as well as underlying themes of anti-bullying, internet safety, friendship, doing the right thing and for most of the time, his characters behave in relatively sensible manners, making the protagonist a good role model. The characters are very easy to related to, the plot moves at a fast clip and generally the conclusion will have you on the edge of your seat. I have thought about it, and I am not sure I can come up with a favourite novel from his rather long list – they’re all equally good.  It also pleases me to learn that his next book is set in Golden Bay – and Tarakohe – with the climax occuring in a place that I remember well: The Tarakohe cement works, now desserted.

The second author I feel deserves a mention is Karen Healey. Now, she is a particularly awesome young lass – not just because she writes urban fantasy with a New Zealand flavour, but also because she used to live in Christchurch and she planned to do a doctorate on comic books.  Now I see she is intending to become a High School teacher, which is pretty awesome, and she’d do a wicked job. How do I know? Well, at one point I worked with her.

I have so far read two of her books – the first: Guardian of the Dead, I read several years ago and highly enjoyed. It is set in our very own city and draws on Maori folklore – specifically the patupaiarehe, the rather feral faeries of Maori mythology. The second, The Shattering is set in a delightful, picturesque (and fiction) town up on the West Coast. For all its serenity and beauty, it has a dark secret. Her third, the latest, is called When We Wake and is a future-dystopia novel, which I have yet to read but I’m sure shall be excellent. She has sassy heroines, a wry sense of humour, great social commentary and overall writes an excellent and intelligent read for young adults.

You can meet Karen Healey on the 12 March at the Riccarton library. Details here.

The third author is fantasy author David Hair. David lives in Wellington and has written a number of books, over three series. The series I have read by him is the Aotearoa series, in which the modern day blends with the ancient in a pretty epic urban fantasy series. The first, The Bone Tiki was his first novel and, whilst an enjoyable and interesting read, it was definitely weaker than his later books. Reading through the series steadily, it has been quite impressive watching his writing talent develop and evolve. The series centres around a young man, Matt, who steals a bone tiki, unleashing an ancient warrior into the world. Although the warrior is not necessarily a threat on his own, their are others out there that seek him for their own, rather darker, purposes. Essentially, it’s a great read with a really strong New Zealand flavour and with the writing really going from strength to strength. The fifth book is due out very soon.

That’s it for now, three authors all with surnames that start with “H”. Now, back to the editting!

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