Tuesday, July 27, 2004

About me

It's fairly impossible to write an 'About Me' that covers all the facts without being a big old yawn, but here goes ...

Photo by my talented husband

My family is Zimbabwean and I grew up there (although I managed to be born in England through a strange combination of circumstances). I loved Zimbabwe, even as it started to crumble around us, but I was lucky enough to be able to move to New Zealand with my family when I was seventeen, and was very happy there too. I used to watch the Gilmore Girls in Zimbabwe and dream of living somewhere where there were 'proper' seasons and I could wear coats and scarves. So, as much as I complained about the cold, I did like having the variety. I got married to my long-term Kiwi boyfriend in 2007. We moved to Austin, Texas in 2010 (hooray, warm weather once more!) and we live very happily here with our cat, Mink and the occasional persistent group of ants in the pantry.

I have wanted to be a writer since I knew what a story was, and I have been working towards it all my life. I wrote my first 'proper' book when I was fifteen, and it was published by Texpertise Ltd in Zimbabwe. It was a fantasy novel for ages 9 to 12, and boasted the dreadful title of The Adventures of Cat, Emma and Duncan in the Lost Land, but sadly (thankfully) isn't available outside of Zimbabwe. I'm proud of it, but my writing has certainly changed dramatically since I was in my mid-teens! Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-three I wrote about six novels that live in desk drawers and are never going to see the light of day (and probably never should!). So believe me, it takes time to produce anything halfway good.

Anyway, I completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Canterbury a few years ago, while working part-time as a book buyer, then got a job as an editor at a publishing company. I quit at the end of 2006 to do the Post-graduate Diploma in Book Publishing at Whitireia Arts College (and went back to the bookstore part-time), and then went on to do the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Canterbury. My Masters project was a novel based on my experiences growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe. That novel became, after many rewrites and revisions, The Cry of the Go Away Bird, which will be published by Harvill Secker (an imprint of Random House UK) on 10 February 2011 and in a Dutch edition by Orlando later in the year. I am represented by the wonderful Vivien Green of Sheil Land Associates.

I am currently working on another novel set in Zimbabwe, and a Young Adult novel set in New Zealand.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, July 1, 2004

The story behind A Cat of Impossible Colour


Where did the name come from?

It came from a dream I had. At least, I think it did. The way I remember it, I woke up in the middle of the night worried about my place in the universe, and my husband said, "Don't worry, you'll be fine." I asked him how he knew, and he said, "You're unique. Like a cat of impossible colour."

He insists I dreamt this. I insist this happened. Either way, it doesn't really matter. I love cats, I love colour, and I love impossibilities. It seemed to fit.

Why did you start a blog?

I started this blog in 2004, when I was in my second year of university, because I have a compulsive need to record everything and my handwriting is indecipherable. Mostly I complained about essays and assignments. I abandoned it when I started my first grown-up job, at a publishing company, and had no time for A Life Outside Work. My life fell apart in spectacular fashion shortly afterwards, in lots of different and imaginative ways, and I quit my job in 2007 to do what I had always wanted to do - write full time. I started this blog to document that process. I can't believe how far it's come since 2007, and I am so grateful for the support and friendship I have found in the blogging community.

So you really write full-time?

Yes, but believe me, I'm certainly nowhere near making a living from writing fiction yet. All the authors I know, including me, have to do complicated mathematics in their heads before buying a cup of coffee. To supplement my income, I work as a freelance writer and editor, doing everything from technical manuals to the blurbs on the back of juice bottles. I am married, and my husband is wonderful and does not mind me making an annual income smaller than a gnat. Or a gnat's income.

Your cat is cute.

Yes. Yes he is.

I notice that he is not of an impossible colour, though.

No, he's black.

How can I get in touch with you directly?

Find out here.

Why vintage?

I've always been inspired by looks that seem to have a story behind them. Wearing vintage makes you into a character - whether it's a character from a children's book, an old musical or a movie.

People sometimes ask why I bother to get dressed up if I'm working from home and no one sees me during the day. I find I think and work better when I'm dressed well, and feel more motivated. Even if I'm not going to see anyone, I feel better knowing that I'm dressed in a way that expresses who I am. And it adds a bit of fun, colour and creativity to my morning before I've even started writing.

Since I only buy second-hand clothing, I accumulate a lot of vintage and constantly need to make room! I sell it off here.

Thanks for coming!

I'm so happy you're here. And I'd like to meet you. Leave me a comment if you'd like to say hello!
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