I’ve always been inspired by many of our talented New Zealand authors such as Lynley Dodd and Joy Cowely, as well as popular international authors like Julia Donaldson. Like them, I write to entertain and teach. What I gain from putting pen to paper is enjoyment, healing and personal growth.
In 2017 I turned to creative writing when I was thrown a massive and unexpected curveball. I suddenly became a solo parent to my 2 year old daughter. I was 5 months pregnant with my son at the time. I left my teaching job to move closer to my family and support network. I knew my situation put me at high risk for postnatal depression and that I was going to have my hands full raising my two children. But I knew that caring for my family meant looking after my own hauora. For me, this was making a little bit of time each day to do something creative and meaningful for myself. I know how influential a story, song or poem can be. Not only can it offer entertainment value, enrich vocabulary and support speech development, but with a strong rhythm it can be a fun and memorable way to teach values and concepts. For those reasons, I chose writing as a creative outlet.
I thought carefully about the values I wanted to teach my own children, then I began writing a tale about a seagull who discovers the importance of helping others and caring for our planet, while on her own journey of mistakes. I left my laptop open at the kitchen counter, and every time the right words came into my head I would take a moment to type them in. I wrote this story while breastfeeding, between nappy changes and among piles of washing.
I couldn’t believe it when the manuscript was finalised for the Storylines Joy Cowley Award in 2019, as I had never entered before. Going along to the awards was such a great opportunity to meet others in the writing industry. I set a new goal: to publish Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea.
I was so excited when award winning NZ publishers, Mary Egan Publishing, said how much they loved the manuscript and wanted to produce the book under their children’s book imprint, Little Love.
I am incredibly grateful that the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation has generously funded the production of this book, and will be distributing a free copy to every school library and public library in New Zealand for Plastic Free July 2021. They have not only helped me to achieve a personal goal, but they are helping to educate the current generation of Primary School children about plastic pollution.
I am honoured to be representing the legacy left by Bobby Stafford-Bush; to respect our ocean and marine life and to help others when we can.