Captain Panic and The Hope Fault: on being anxious in an uncertain landscape

The Belgravia Books / Aardvark Bureau / Gallic Books team asked me to write something for their blog, on anxiety as a preoccupation of my novel The Hope Fault. I wrote about extreme campervanning, family nicknames, and being anxious (and writing) in an uncertain landscape. Like the Worst Campervan in New Zealand, my novel The … Read more…

A memory of others

Another 100 NZ Short Stories

This month marks 20 years since the publication, in May 1998, of my first piece of fiction, in this fine wee book: Another 100 New Zealand Short Short Stories, edited by Graeme Lay, and published by Tandem Press (it’s out of print now, though probably in secondhand bookstores and libraries; stories from three volumes in the series were – … Read more…

The most beautiful home movie ever made

Rachel Getting Married

I was sorry to hear, a fortnight ago, of the death of film director Jonathan Demme. The tweets and obits all namechecked the films he’s best known for: The Silence of the Lambs (1991, five Oscars), Philadelphia (1993, two Oscars), and (arguably the best concert film ever) Stop Making Sense (1984). But my thoughts turned first to … Read more…

‘A way with words: Writing as a physical activity’ for NZ Listener

New Zealand Listener has this year been running a regular feature, A way with words, in which they invite New Zealand writers to describe their writing day. I was thrilled to be asked to write a piece, and my contribution was published this week (the issue dated 6 May 2017, on newsstands the week before that) under the … Read more…

The Hope Fault – Notes, resources and references

Hope Fault close-up 2015 South Island Geology map, Unfolding the map exhibition

Like most writers, I’m a magpie, taking shiny things from the world around me and making them my own, absorbing and transforming them in my writing. So, in addition to the acknowledgements printed in the back of the book (reproduced at the bottom of this page), I wanted to acknowledge some of the sources, resources … Read more…

Writing workshop at 2016 WORD Christchurch Festival

WORD Christchurch 2016

The programme has just been launched for WORD Christchurch 2016 Writers & Readers Festival, which runs from 26 to 28 August. I’ll be teaching a writing workshop on the Friday of the festival.   Teaching the monster to speak: Writing believable fictional characters Writing fiction is a licence to invent and transform. When we write, we might choose to … Read more…

Lena Gaunt by any other name

How To Name Baby

Names are funny things, important things, and they fascinate me; indeed, my second novel, The Hope Fault, is at least partly about names and naming. I spend a lot of (aka too much) time mulling over character names in my writing. I love to name my chapters, too, title them rather than just giving them numbers … Read more…