Beyond the ending

When Te Papa Tupu ended on Friday December 3rd at a hui held at the offices of Huia Publishers in Thorndon, it felt more like the closing of one process and the opening of another than an ending. We were welcomed warmly into the Huia whānau, and Robyn Bargh explained their kaupapa of nurturing writers, … Continue reading Beyond the ending

Reaching back to find political purpose

With the deadline looming a nagging sense of panic wakes up with me every morning. If I feed it not much writing happens that day. It got so bad a few weeks ago I went searching for what my motives were in wanting to write this novel, and casting about I found an essay I … Continue reading Reaching back to find political purpose

How coincidences mean more than you think

Often this month I've questioned, 'Why am I doing this?'  Not so long ago, a New Age shaped world view would have me think, 'Oh, but writing seems to have chosen me.' Now I can't be so sure. Back then, I might cite the time I went looking for guidance on what I thought was … Continue reading How coincidences mean more than you think

Characters: hanging on to what matters

When I last met my mentor, Alia Bloom, we shared coffee in the sun on the terrace of her home, and I hesitantly agreed with her suggestion to dispatch Buddy Winter. I created Buddy so it was only right that I be the one to destroy him. He was an awful man, but like a … Continue reading Characters: hanging on to what matters

Planning a story to relish

Years ago I had a career change from commerce to cooking. My first job was in a restaurant called The Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow. Quite quickly I determined their menu was too big, too many choices, and too many ingredients piled onto the plate, smothering and confusing the flavour of the primary fare, be it … Continue reading Planning a story to relish

Mark Sweet wakes the sleeping Zhu Mao

Brian Bargh of Huia left a message. He asked I return his call. 'It's good news,' he said. I went all goose pimply, and great gulps of excitement came tinged with fear.
I began writing Zhu Mao three years ago at the start of the Diploma of Creative Writing course at Whitireia Polytechnic. When I applied I submitted a short story, one of many, inter-connected, which I wanted to shape into a novel.