Members’ Profiles

the committee

Profiles for committee members  Margaret Cahill, Lesley Marshall, Justine Payen, Di Menefy, Katharine Derrick, Julie O’Brien, Zana Bell,  Derin Attwood and Kath Wynn can be found here.

Derin Attwood


When a house fire destroyed Derin Attwood’s embroidery samples and books, her job as an embroidery tutor was no-longer viable. So she looked for another hobby, and eventually settled on writing. Having always had a passion for words, reading, creating stories and poems, Derin decided to begin a few short stories while on a three year journey around New Zealand. The first story grew and grew, and never ended. It became part one of the ongoing fantasy series, The Token Bearers. The first three books have been published, and Book One, The Caves of Kirym, was shortlisted for The Sir Julius Vogel award in 2015.

Derin is a member of NZSA and a small critique group. She lives in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Zana Bell

Zana BellZana Bell writes in a variety of genre, her novels covering YA, historical adventure, and contemporary romance. Her second novel based on Charlotte Badger – convict, pirate and New Zealand’s first known English woman migrant – won the Cataromance Single Title’s 10 Best Books of 2008. In 2010 she won the Cataromance Reviewers’ Award for her romance, Tempting the Negotiator. She has also written short stories and articles that have appeared in publications such as Landfall, NZ Geographic, Takahe, Grace and History Scotland as well as being broadcast on National Radio. In 2000 she was awarded a Creative New Zealand grant and was the recipient of a National Archives Oral Histories grant in 2002. In 2006 she worked with Elizabeth Smither under the NZ Society of Authors Mentor Scheme and was shortlisted for the NZSA Mid-Careers Grant in 2012. In 2014 she was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship to complete a PhD in Creative Writing at AUT.

Donna Blaber

Donna BlaberDonna Blaber writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is an experienced journalist, magazine editor and author. Her career includes working as the road trip editor for a popular NZ car magazine, the chief editor of a motorhome mag, and as the launch editor of a new renovation magazine. She is widely published and for four consecutive years her feature articles made the finals of the Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards. In 2013 she won Creative Northland’s Excellence in the Arts Business Award.

Donna’s first book was commissioned in 2004; since then she has produced more than 40 titles. When she is not writing she teaches creative writing workshops for children. She is also available for writer visits as part of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme,%20Donna
While the majority of her work is published by mainstream publishers, she also runs a boutique publishing company which publishes, markets and distributes the popular Kiwi Critters® series of books for young children.


Rosie BoomRosie Boom lives with her husband Chris and their six children on a small lifestyle block near Whangarei. She spent her childhood in New Guinea; it was there she wrote her first story at age nine. It won an Australasian competition ; the prize was a first edition copy of The Fellowship of the Ring– a treasured book for a budding author!

A number of her short stories and articles have been published in the N.Z. School Journal and in overseas magazines. She has had seven books published since completing a writing course in 2000. Her first series, The Gift of Values, reflects Rosie’s passion for family. The fourth and final book of The Barn Chronicles series was published in October 2013. The series has won three international awards and is now available as a boxed set. She is currently working on a devotional book and a children’s book.

Michael Botur

Michael Botur-235Michael Botur has published three short story collections, all available at He is first and second-place winner of this year’s Whangarei Libraries Flash Fiction Competition. Botur has published fiction and poetry writing in the literary journals Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, JAAM, Takahe, some overseas literary journals, and many an edgy zine. Botur is a trained journalist and has published news and longform journalism in New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana. Botur works as a freelance content writer and researcher and is teaching fiction for Community Education Whangarei from July. For more information visit his website:

Daphne de Jong

daphneDaphne de Jong’s writing career is lengthy and includes short stories – for which she has won prizes including the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award – best-selling romantic fiction published world wide, and non-fiction.  Her two non-fiction books have also won awards and she has occasionally published poetry in literary magazines.
She has studied script writing and completed a full length movie script that was judged as ‘good’ by a Hollywood studio assessor.  However, no one has so far has offered to buy it!
Her short story collection Crossing the Bar published by David Ling and historical novel Gather the Wind (HarperCollins) earned rave reviews.  She has taught writing for various educational institutions and at her home “Karaveer” which functioned as a writers’ retreat and venue for writing courses.
Daphne has been a long-time member of the Northland branch of NZ Authors, working tirelessly in many roles.  In recognition of her many literary achievements and the regard the branch has for her, she has been nominated for the 2013 Prime Minister’s Award in Literary Achievement.

Michelle Elvy

Michelle ElvyMichelle Elvy is an editor, writer and writing coach/ private tutor. Years ago she sold everything she owned – including her red motorbike — and moved onto a sailboat.  A decade later she landed in Northland and stayed (although her latitude and longitude still change regularly). Co-ordinator of New Zealand’s National Flash Fiction Day and the international FLASH MOB 2013, Michelle is also the founding editor of Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and fiction editor at Blue Five Notebook. In recent years, Michelle has judged a number of competitions for Auckland’s International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangarei Writers’ Workshop, the Northland/Whangarei Libraries, the South Island Writers’ Association, Flash Fiction World and the upcoming 2013 NorthWrite Collaboration Competition.

A Pushcart nominee, a Watson Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist in numerous international writing competitions, Michelle is currently finishing a book-length collection of short stories based in NZ history, thanks to a 2012 NZSA/ Auckland Museum Library grant.  Her other fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and travel articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals in NZ and internationally. You can also find her at the Tuesday Poem group and at Glow Worm.


Tony FosterTony lives on the shores of the pristine and very natural Whangaroa Harbour and is a high school teacher of Science and Biology in local schools . His passion for native plants led to his first book which was published in 2008 by Penguin. Plant Heritage New Zealand looks at the features of New Zealand native plants and what makes them special.

He self published his second book, An illustrated Guide to Botanical Terms, as an ebook for iPad. He produces all the botanical photography for his books.

Tony writes and photographs for his books in winter. In summer he is busy with his tourism business, Whangaraoa Water Transport, Harbour Taxi and Whangaroa Houseboats.

Whether its boats or books, Tony’s stories are the same. He is all about celebrating and educating people about the special features of New Zealand nature.

Barbara Green

Barbara Green

Barbara completed a Diploma in Writing Stories for Children in 2012. She has a few stories in the pipeline, and hopes to join the ranks of published writers in the not too distant future. She works as a nurse,  and enjoys any time that she can spend with her little grandson. She is enjoying the world of reading to a child yet again, and gains lots of inspiration for her stories from her family, variety of pets, and from her surroundings on the beautiful Whangarei Harbour. She enjoys being a part of NZSA, and gaining inspiration from all the writing talent around her.

Narine Groome

Narine taught juniors as a primary teacher for years, which motivated her to write for children. In 2009 Penguin published her children’s picture book, Wheelbarrow Wilbur, realising a dream. She has 20 more children’s books waiting and wishes she could draw!

Currently, she is writing her first full-length play for a PANZ competition, 90 minutes in length. It’s ready to send, so she’s feeling chuffed! She has recently had some success with plays for PANZ – spaced out over a long time. Her play, A Word in Edgeways, was third in a PANZ competition last year, and another adult play, A Bag of Flour, was second in a PANZ competition in 2005. She has been re-motivated to try her hand at playwriting, and is enjoying the genre.


Barbara Lucy is registered as a lecturer of Birmingham University, England, and has taught Creative Writing Classes on Auckland’s North Shore, started Northshore Writers Group, worked with International Writers Workshop  Auckland and also organised readings. She started the Whāngārei Writers’ Workshop, recently resigning as Convener. She has been a competition judge and guest speaker/tutor. Her first three line poem in her mother’s autograph book, was written at four years old.  She won her first writing competition, at the age of eight and at 11 her first poem was published. Later two books on creative activity, were followed by several articles and stories and she was a staff writer for NZ Fisherman before being diagnosed with an incurable disease.  She has since self-published two books of poems and is working on a third and a short story collection. She writes a monthly newsletter for the Whangarei ME/CFS group.


Peri Hoskins

Peri Hoskins is the second son of a family of five children. He is of mixed Maori (Ngapuhi) and Anglo-Celtic ancestry. While a student at Whangarei Boys’ High School, he twice won a national essay competition. After completing high school, Peri went to Auckland University where he studied law and the humanities, including history and English literature.

Peri worked as a lawyer in New South Wales before embarking on a 1994 five-month road trip around Australia. This road trip comprises the material for his soon to be published book, East. In December 1999 he travelled to the Kingdom of Tonga to be in the first country in the world to see in the new millennium. The diary of his three weeks in Tonga has become Millennium – A Memoir, a soon to be published book of creative non-fiction. In 2004 Peri completed a post graduate diploma in film and television production at Queensland University of Technology.

Peri now lives, writes and works as a barrister in his Maori ancestral homeland of Northland (Tai Tokerau).


Jac bioJac privately believes that her greatest writing accomplishment was the highly commended award for tidy writing that she won in primary school, as her hand-writing is usually exceptionally poor. Luckily she now does all of her creative writing on her laptop. Squeezing her writing between her two library jobs can be challenging, however she found time to win the Northland Short Story of the Year in both 2012 and 2013. She has had work published in the Northern Advocate, National Poetry Day in Northland and Flash Frontier and in 2012 was awarded a poetry mentorship through the NZ Society of Authors. Jac is also a member of the Northland poetry group, Take Flight.

Jac lives in rural Whangarei with her daughter, five hens and two cats. She and her partner live 3 ½ hours apart, yet somehow manage to spend most weekends together in one house or the other.


Lisa LLisa lives with her husband and two young children on a dairy farm in Northland. She is a primary school teacher by trade but is currently full-time as a home executive. Her current book, Living the Fairy Tale, focuses on knowing whether you have a man in love with you or not. Recently the book was positively reviewed on The Book Show on National television. Living the Fairy Tale took her over ten years to write, and then she chose to self-publish. She thought her dream had been completed only to discover the real work had just begun! She is currently revising the book as well as working on her new title Motherhood bliss? She is also  involved in reviving a Writers’ Group in Dargaville with fellow author, Maureen Sudlow.

Sun Lyoung Kim

SunSun Lyoung Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to New Zealand in 1996. She has lived in Whangarei for 18 years. She graduated from NorthTec in 2006 with the Diploma in Applied Writing and was awarded the PEN prize from the New Zealand Society of Authors, Northland Branch. Since 2010 she has been writing educational columns on ‘Delicious Education’- a subsidiary company of Cho Sun Il Bo.

She published ‘Becoming a Kiwi’ in School Journal Part 1 Number 2, 2006 – and ‘Walking on the Grass’ in School Journal Part 1 Number 4, 2006.From 2006 to 2007 she has published columns on a Korean web newspaper about New Zealand and in 2005 published an article about a Korean folktale story in Whangarei Report. She is currently working on translating David Hill’s book, ‘Right Where it Hurt’ into Korean.


Talia_Mana_200x250Talia Mana is a business consultant and success strategist who excels at creating and growing successful businesses. Talia is an innovator who enjoys being at the forefront of change. An early adopter of digital marketing she published her first eBook in the late 1990s.

Talia was a contributing author to the Amazon bestselling book 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 2 with John Gray, Richard Carlson, Bob Proctor and Jack Canfield. She is also the author of two self-improvement books containing strategies for personal success and more than 1,000 articles and blog posts, and several eBooks and audio products. An award winning blogger and professional speaker, Talia has been featured in television, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews.

Talia is based in Whangarei – known as ‘The Winterless North’ of New Zealand – where she enjoys the peace and tranquillity of country living and does her best to avoid the weeding.

Visit Talia’s website or get social with Talia on Twitter  and Facebook


Anne McDonellAnne worked as a speech language therapist and special needs teacher for 30 years. She has written poetry, published mainly in School Journal and literary magazines, and three educational books: Speech and Language Development 0-7 Years, Let’s Write Poems and Let’s Write Short Stories. She has won a Northland short story competition and poetry competition and her poems have been anthologised. In 2012 Anne decided to take on the challenge of writing a junior novel. The MOB and The Robbers, a novel for 9 to 11-year-olds, was published by Ocean Books in March 2013.  Thanks to NZSA, Anne had Janice Marriott as her mentor while writing this book.

Highlights of Anne’s writing career have been: visiting schools as a member of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme, travelling to schools in the Far North with Margaret Mahy and Northland writers, viewing children’s reactions to and artists’ illustrations of her work.  Her work has been translated into Maori and interpreted by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.


JanineJanine designed, wrote and currently teaches on the online Diploma of Applied Writing programme for Northtec. She has been published across a wide range of genres and media over the years: short and long non-fiction for children and adults; short and long fiction, including two novels for children and short stories on radio for adults; collaborated in writing plays for radio and early childhood readers in te Reo Maori as well as reviews of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, films and websites for magazines and newsletters. Her current writing projects are a biography of Priscilla Wakefield and an historical novel.

Janine lives with her family on the Hokianga Harbour and is involved in several local issues, all of which feeds her writing.

Daniel MYERS

Dan Myers

Originally from California, Daniel Myers re-settled in New Zealand in 1987. His experience in the publishing industry covers a wide spectrum: as a writer, he has published two novels: The Second Favorite Son (Hazard Press, 2004) and Corporate Blue (Reed 2007), and numerous short stories, essays and articles; and as publisher (AE Link Publications–publishers of language and safety training materials for pilots and air traffic controllers). He owns and operates both the Word|Link Literary Agency ( and Word|Link Writer’s Support ( which provides editing and manuscript assessment services.

In addition to his experience in the publishing industry, he has more than 30 years experience in the aviation industry as a pilot and air traffic controller, for which he is often employed as a consultant. He is currently dividing his time between New Zealand and New Mexico.

Contact Dan at WordlinkNZ[at]gmail[dot]com.

Trish Nicholson

Trish NicholsonAn anthropologist, photographer and writer of short stories and creative non-fiction, Trish survived a management career in Europe before spending fifteen years on aid and development projects and research in the Asia Pacific.

A compulsive scribbler, she began as a columnist and feature writer, later producing three non-fiction books on anthropology, management, and responsible travel. In 2011, she signed with Collca, a UK-based, digital publisher, to write eBook travelogues, Masks of the Moryons (Philippines), and Journey in Bhutan, and a popular science title From Apes to Apps: How Humans Evolved as Storytellers and Why it Matters. Her latest book, Inside Stories for Writers and Readers, a ‘companion’, is released by Collca in July 2013, their first in paperback as well as digital.

Trish posts weekly from her tree house articles on writing, travel and photo-essays: and chirps on Twitter as @trishanicholson

Julie O’Brien

Julie photo smallJulie is a qualified editor and journalist and works as a freelance editor offering editing, proofreading and writing services. She works primarily with non-fiction material from short documents to lengthy publications, including academic work and website copy. As she has also had a career in counselling and psychotherapy, she specialises in texts in these fields and in self-help books. Julie is also drawing on her psychotherapy experience to write a book about the process of personal change and its relationship to wider social change. For more information go to


Karen Phillips works full-time as a school administrator. She began writing with a course in 2009 and won the Katherine Mansfield Novice Award and the Heartland Short Story contest that year and has enjoyed success in other contests since then. She recently discovered the immediateness of short, short fiction and is exploring that genre at present with the Flash Frontier contest in addition to writing longer stories, which she hopes will be enough for a collection in the not-too-distant future.

Rae Roadley

Rae RoadleyRae Roadley lay sprawled on a gravel road after being thrown by a bull – and had an idea. She’d write about her life on a farm situated on a remote and historic harbour peninsula. Her newspaper columns led to Love at the End of the Road, a memoir published by Penguin, which in turn led to an episode of New Zealand’s longest-running TV show, Country Calendar. A qualified journalist with experience in publishing and public relations, she’s also a freelance and creative writer, blogs about farming and rural life and tutors online non-fiction and feature writing at NorthTec. Rae’s work has been recognised in fiction contests and media awards.

Maureen Sudlow

Maureen writes mainly poetry and children’s picture books, and has had poetry published both on-line and in magazines such as A Fine Line.

Maureen has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, and was short-listed for the 2012 Joy Cowley Award.  She enjoys blogging, and finds Facebook a good way to keep up with her children and grand-children.  Maureen is slowly working through her ‘bucket list’ which included a trip on the Ghan and a visit to Coober Pedy. She has just published her picture book, Fearless Fred and the Dragon.


Lisa TAfter graduating from university with a BA in English Literature and History, Lisa Taylor began a career as a marketer for the 3D graphics industry. In between contracts she worked as a journalist, contributing articles and feature stories to numerous trade publications. A few years before her family’s immigration to New Zealand (2010), she started a project combining one of her teenage sons’ interests (videogames) with one of her own (mystery novels). In 2011 the resulting manuscript, Motive Games, won the Caleb Prize (Omega Writers of Australia) in the Young Adult category. It was published in 2012 by Wombat Books.

When she is not working on the sequel to Motive Games, or speaking to young people about media literacy, Lisa acts as the commissioning editor of the Australian publication, ‘Words With Wings’. Outside of work, the Taylors live like pioneers in Kauri and taunt their family in Canada with photos of exoitic fruits and snowless winters.

Heather Whelan

Heather WhelanHeather Whelan writes freelance articles, mainly about travel. She is currently published most months in Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations.  Previous articles have appeared in the New Zealand Listener, the New Zealand Herald and Wilderness and Next magazines.  Heather also writes for the UK market and has been published in The Lady, This England, Evergreen, Welsh Country, Derbyshire Life, Practical Boat Owner and many other yachting magazines, including in the USA and Australia.

Heather has written an art book for teachers, Smart Art, and a picture book, The Crazy Idea.

Current projects include a travel memoir about sailing from England to New Zealand and a junior novel set in the 1800s.

sian williams

Sian WilliamsSian Williams is a flasher, writer and editor.  Her flash fiction has been short-listed for a number of competitions both in New Zealand and internationally. Most recently, she won first place in the 2013 Northland Flash Fiction Competition. Her flash story ‘Bomb’ was featured by the Tuesday Poem group in June 2012, and is currently their most-viewed poem. Besides flash fiction, Sian also writes non-fiction and books for children. Her writing for children is published by Learning Media Ltd and The School Magazine in Australia. She is currently working on a young adult novel based on stories from Greek mythology.

Sian has organised writing competitions and events and, in 2012, was a coordinator of New Zealand’s first National Flash Fiction Day. She’s tutored workshops on short fiction, both for the NZSA and privately.  She is, together with Michelle Elvy, an editor at Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction.

Sian lives in the Bay of Islands, with her husband and two children, growing kiwifruit and big juicy oranges.

Kathleen Wynn

Kath has taught secondary school students – mainly in English and computer studies – in Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand for more years than she cares to remember and is currently tutoring in the Applied Writing course for NorthTec, Whangarei.  She has written in conjunction with a senior student a school production, Forward to the Past and produced and edited a number of school magazines, school newspapers and two books of student writing, as well  as having her own articles published in various magazines over the years but the main focus of her writing during the past few years has been biographies and reflections for Hospice patients.  She has just completed her sixteenth biography.  She also works with English Language Partners and has recently completed, with a young Tibetan refugee mother, an autobiography of life and imprisonment in Tibet under Chinese rule, which is currently looking for a publisher.

In addition, Kath is a transcriptionist, transcribing interviews and other material for authors and students.

joce yeoman

Jocelyn and BluebellJoce (short for Jocelyn) trained as a journalist in 1988 and has worked freelance pretty much ever since, fitting writing around various other pursuits including milking cows and running her own catering company.  In 2005 she returned to writing as her primary income, freelancing and working as a Communications Consultant for local government.  Joce now runs Santosha – a guide to joy: a guide to life, a life-coaching business to help women find joy and contentment in their lives.  She teaches yoga and is writing various non-fiction works about women’s health and wellness.  She currently runs a blog, which will be upgraded to a full website at the end of 2013:


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