Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in New Zealand, to a Maori mother, and a Dutch father. They are both school teachers. My dad was a principal of a primary/intermediate school, so I grew up in the town of that school, but moved to Raglan when I was fourteen. I spent two years living in Raglan, and then three years living on the Great Barrier Island as my dad currently is a principal at one of the schools there. Raglan and the Great Barrier Island helped me so much as a person, and I’m not sure if I would be where am today if I didn’t have those amazing experiences. Growing up I had always been interested in writing, but I only ever saw it as a hobby until I moved to Raglan. I currently live in Auckland, and am studying. I’ve written about eight books, but Broken is my first book being published.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The name is Broken. It follows Matariki, a Maori boy who struggles to understand love, his identity, and his sexuality in a thick-skinned New Zealand community that is constantly pre-defining people. One of my close friends inspired it. He is Maori and grew up in a hard-skinned New Zealand environment. He also happens to be gay. He wanted me to write a novel that focused on hyper masculinity in New Zealand. Although there are books and movies that focus on hyper masculinity (such as Moonlight), there aren’t many New Zealand books or movies that focus on hyper masculinity in New Zealand. He wanted a story that was similar to his own. Hyper masculinity does exist in New Zealand but it’s not talked about very much.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
There is one thing I do that people find unusual: I almost never plan on paper. I always plan in my head. I have a pretty good memory so I can remember my plots really well. Plots always just come to me during random times. For example, I’ll be eating dinner and all of a sudden a plot will come up inside my head. I’ll literally envision a whole novel in my head, and then I’ll begin to put my stories down on paper. I’ve always been like that. People have told me that’s not the right way to do it, but it works for me. I have tried outlining and while it does help sometimes, I just find it more natural when I think of the plot in my head. Another thing I do, is I delete a whole chapter if I’m not feeling it. I don’t think this is too unusual, as some other authors do this as well.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Jodi Picoult, Gillian Flynn, Fleur Beale, Angie Thomas, and Becky Albertalli have influenced me. Some of my favorite books are The Hate U Give, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Nineteen Minutes, I Am Not Esther, The Kite Runner, What We Saw, Before I Die, and Gone girl. Those books have all influenced me in some shape or form.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a YA murder mystery. I’ve only written about one chapter so far, but I have planned out the whole plot in my head so I know how I want things to develop in the story.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m kind of new to this, so I don’t really know. But from what I know, Goodreads is pretty awesome and so is Amazon. Social Media is also a great way to promote your books.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep looking for opportunities and keep believing in yourself. There were so many times where I doubted that I would get a novel published. There were a couple of times where I found myself crying myself to sleep at night, thinking that this dream isn’t possible. Eventually I decided I was just going to keep looking for opportunities and keep believing in myself. This helped so much because I had gotten more confident to reach out and look for opportunities.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“You need to believe that you can do this, because the more you don’t believe, the less likely this will happen for you.” And also the Nike slang “Just do it” is something that I find so true. I spent so long talking about how I wanted to be published someday, but while I said that, I never actually looked for any opportunities.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Leah on the Offbeat.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I am going to be releasing four new books after Broken.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would bring Nineteen Minutes, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens agenda, The Hate U Give, and Gone Girl.