As a writer and an individual, the influences that have shaped me have been many...
One of the big influences in recent times has been Hayao Miyazaki. I was worried about setting a big part of The Chronicles pf Aden Weaver in Japan or The Land of Fire and Ice - as the Chisai call it - when I'd never been there. My friend, who is Japanese said, "You should watch the films of Hayao Miyazaki because they show the Japanese way of thinking, they show our spirituality." Wow, I was an instant fan! Hayao is right up there with Shaun Tan and Peter Jackson, our iconic Kiwi filmmaker, in terms of absolute genius in my eyes, their work is simply on another level. I watched every one of Hayao's films. I feel a kinship - a connectedness to his mentality - to the otherworldly events of his animations. That's my style. Hayao's films shaped how I wrote about Fire nd Ic
My Favourite Authors
(growing up) Enid Blyton, A.A.Milne, C.S. Lewis, Beverly Cleary, Tove Jansson, Charles Kingsley, Anna Sewell, Rudyard Kipling, Tolkien, E.B White, Laura Ingills Wilder, Dr. Seuss, Lewis Carroll, Maurice Sendak, Russell Hoban, Beatrix Potter
(now) Kate de Goldi, JK Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Norman Vincent Peale, William Dalrymple, Christopher Paolini, Melinda Szymanik, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Margaret Mahy, Eoin Colfer, Alice Walker, Agatha Christie, Shaun Tan, Phillip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, Shonagh Koea, Elizabeth Knox, Jack Lasenby, Brian Falkner, William Mayne, Brian Jacques, Ursula K. Le Guin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Terry Pratchett, Jane Yolen, Brian Jacques, Ray Bradbury.
The first book I ever received was a large book on Myths & Legends with colour illustrations. It was my favourite book for a long time.
We had the English book, ‘The Water Babies’ by Charles Kingsley in our house,and dad read it to us a few pages a night. He also read us the classics like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island. Dad’s melodic voice was particularly suited to story telling. The bedtime story was something we looked forward to every night.
We had a large hardback book of fairy tales which I read many times. My sisters had the collection of Moomin books by Tove Jansson. I found Janssons' books in the school library as well and I slowly read my way through the whole series. I think - looking back - that those books planted the seed for my interest in anthropomorphism.
People who influence me
Kiwiwrite4kids, the group I joined shortly after it was started by Maria Gill.
SCBWI, the Society of children's book writers and illustrators.
Storylines, the Children’s Literature Charitable Trust (NZ).
NZSA, the New Zealand Society of Authors.
WANAtribe, the modern version of the Paris salons, brain child of Kristen and Ingrid.
Shaun Tan, Australian author and illustrator.
Kate de Goldi, award-winning Kiwi author and teacher.
Linkedin, Google+, Pininterest, Goodreads
Jane Friedman, writer, blogger and head of Open Road Media.
Joe Bunting, writer, ghostwriter, blogger, and editor.
PJ Reece, writer, blogger, adventurer.
Jim Woods, writer, guitar junkie, blogger and encourager.
Daniel Jose Older, writer, musician and paramedic.
Melinda Szamanik, writer of children's and YA lit. and blogger.
Fifi Colston, writer, illustrator, blogger, crafter.
Maurice Crisp, writer, blogger, singer.
Susan Brocker, writer
Graham Beattie, blogger & former managing director of Penguin and Scholastic NZ.
Angela Ackerman, the bookshelf muse.
Kyle Mewburn, writer.
James Preller, writer, blogger.
Kristen Lamb, writer, blogger, teacher, speaker.
Jane Yolen, writer, speaker.
Bob Mayer, writer, blogger, teacher, head of Write on the River.
Jeff Goins, writer, blogger.
Maria Cisneros-Toth, writer, blogger, crafter, critique
Erin Kawaihululani Kropidlowski, teacher, mentor, Hawaiian Kahuna Bodywork
Hayao Miyazaki, filmmaker
Nathan Bransford, writer.
Blogs I follow
Seth Godin, Jami Gold, Larry Brooks - Storyfix.com, The Write Practice, Moz Blog, Adventures in YA publishing, Books & Such, Jane Friedman - On the ether, Write on the River, Writers in the Storm, Kristen Lamb, Ana Reads, Ginger Reads, Janet Reid - Literary Agent, Editorrent, Write to Done, Sean D'Souza - psychotactics, Reading Teen, Writer Unboxed, Catherine Margaret Johnson, Teresa Robeson - Growing, Writing, Creating, Meghan's Musings, Stephanie Jefferson, Chip Macgregor, David Gaughran, P J Reece, Lynn Kelley, Susanna Leonard Hill, Katie L. Carroll, Big Al's Books and Pals, Writer Beware Blogs!, Pinar Tarhan - Addicted to Writing, The Artist's Road, The Enchanted Inkpot, The Shatzkin Files, Snipp, Snapp, Snute, Jonathan Gunson, Nathan Bransford, Judie Lee Dunn, Writers Helping Writers, Janice Hardy's Blog.
One of the questions posed over on the blog, The Write Practice was, what are the themes in your work? The theme in my life is definitely self-knowledge. Consequently that is also the theme in all my books. The format is consistently 'the quest' which is a metaphor for self-knowledge.
In The Chronicles of Aden Weaver trilogy, the quest is for a mythical object known as the Or'in of Tane Mahuta. My protagonist, Aden Weaver, heads the team to search the world for the Or'in.
In a conversation I had with the author PJ Reece, he said, "Without knowing the details of your story, I can say that the sacred object should be a metaphor for what it is inside Aden that he hasn't yet realized. I'm guessing that for a reader, Aden's journey toward 'self knowledge' is more compelling than anything Ike (the antagonist) does. There's a theory of mental growth that states that we go through a series of psychological disintegrations on our way to becoming authentic persons. So it's very much true to life that a character would be thrown into an existential void again and again. With each passage through the fire, so to speak and with each 'reintegration' the person becomes increasingly altruistic. In the final stage, he's entirely selfless. Few of us ever get that far. (name me one!)."
Being who I am
New Year's Eve 2011, on the cusp of 2012, I found a quote by Dr. Seuss that I wrote on my whiteboard. I decided to make it my motto. Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
The material is an already determined predeliction towards certain things, 'what he alone loves at all', because it is up to you. For a reason that is hard to explain, you haven't read it because you haven't written it yet. Great writers are motivated by recurring obsessions. It is the thing that pushes them forward. It is the reason we seek them out, to read them. William Mayne must have his teasure hunts. They have come to their story palette by something they are drawn to, for some reason they can't explain. I am as caught by their fascinations as they are caught. Their preoccupations and motifs carry from book to book. -Kate de Goldi
I say fiction is an act of courage and humility, a protest against our mortality, and we, the authors, don’t matter. Trust you powers of empathy and invention I say. Trust the example of the authors you love to read and trust that your craft, when braided with compassion, will produce stories that matter, to you and to readers you’ve never met. -Bret Anthony Johnston
A is for Archive, Antecedents, and Ancestors. The work that has gone before. The fundamental job of an author is to be familiar with the form from the last century not just the last decade. Writing and reading are mirror twins, reading is as good a creative writing workshop as any. It teaches about metaphor, structure, the child's eye. -Kate de Goldi
I certainly find it hard to draw a strictly separating line between writing and reading, particularly as I see reading and writing as part of the same network from which I write. -Margaret Mahy
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut. - Stephen King
Author at work (taken by my son, aged 8)
The best stories infuse wonder. Can you instill wonder? Storytelling has guidelines not hard & fast rules. -Andrew Stanton
You have to persevere. You have to believe in yourself, even when there's not much reason to do so. -Brian Falkner
But if I didn't believe that something truly transformative and healing happens when we share our stories with each other—I wouldn't be in this business. -Ollin Morales
We need structure, or everything falls apart. But we also need spaces that surprise us. Because it is the exchanges we don't expect, with the people we just met, that will change the way we think about everything. -Jonah Lehrer
Black and white self-portraits
…if poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all. -John Keats
I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. . . . Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation. -Stephen King
A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. -Annie Dillard
Because telling a story truthfully is the only way to write. Truly. -Jane Yolen
I believe the compulsion to write comes from a deeper place. I don't write about or for children, but I write for the once and always child in myself. When I'm writing for children I'm chasing down a lost eden, that hopeful springtime, to approximate the pleasure I had in those shaded imaginative places. The lost eden of my childhood. -Kate de Goldi
Twenty five years ago, my parents and I saw a demonstration of Hawaiian Kahuna Bodywork. It was outside Auckland University, given by the amazing Erin Kawaihululani Kropidlowski. Then by coincidence, Erin moved to the same little town in the Coromandel Peninsula where my parents live. A friendship was made that has lasted throughout the years. Erin has become a friend and a mentor to me and the whole family. I've been lucky enough to experience Hawaiian Kahuna Bodywork with her on three different occasions.
Erin leads workshops, lectures and intensive retreats. One of her lectures was about the Ho'oponopono, 'I'm sorry. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you'. This is a tool for cleansing and cleaning whenever you're having a problem in life. "The Kahuna say that all feelings come from the center of the body, the pono," said Erin. "Use the Ho'oponopono to begin the task of freeing up hordes of your personal energy tied up with your thoughts, memories and beliefs. Incorporate the Ho'oponopono as the way to free yourself. As you clean and clear these old subconscious programs you will find things flowing in your life."
"I take 100% responsibility for (every) being in my space of existence. I know that I am 100% responsible for doing something about it and I apply ho'oponopono until I am in a total space of quiet and Love." Erin.
Devine Creator, Father, Mother, Son as One...
If I , my family, relatives, and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present we ask your forgiveness...
Let this clease purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies and vibrations and transmute these unwanted energies to pure light...
And it is done.
-Morrnah Simeona, Kahuna Lapa'au
The harmony of the sub-conscious, the conscious mind, and the higher self is the path ahead.
-Erin Kawaihululani Kropidlowski