Audiobooks New Zealand
I learnt a LOT during my chat with Rosy, who was Zooming in from her home in the Wairarapa Wine region of Martinborough. Having traveled extensively, she prefers life in the town where everyone knows your dog, and the pace accommodates for someone seeking to change a hectic medical profession into a writing career.
She credits her medical background with her easy transition into the world of literature, with that knowledge proving valuable for the protagonist in her most recent novel, ‘Cold Wallet.’ Having researched cryptocurrency since its introduction to our soils, Fenwicke has us following a young, naive doctor Jess as she navigates the process of accessing assets left to her by her newly deceased husband.
God help me if I was in that position… I can do words, but numbers/technological jargon evades me. So bear with me upwardly mobile listeners, here’s what I learned. A hot wallet is where people can stash their currency once they’ve bought it, but that information is visible online. The wallet becomes cold when you want to secure those assets offline where it’s inaccessible by anyone other than the owner who has it bound by numerous passwords. So, unless Dr Jess is able to find or figure out each password her genius husband allocated to the wallet, no one will ever have access to the goods - of which there are millions. There is a bunch of other intel about block chains and miners etc, but I’m clinging to the basics.
Consulting with accountants and those who work in all areas of the crypto industry, she wasn’t afraid to ask the ‘dumbest questions in the world’ in order to understand the way it all works. Following the press around the investigation into Christchurch’s Cryptopia hacking and liquidation also proved invaluable. Rosy isn’t afraid of delving into the knowledge that the world is becoming increasingly automated, crypto’d and digitised. She even has ideas around how we can capitalise on the progress we’re making in those areas to further advance information storing for the medical sector, with block chain technology being the blueprint to enable people to hold and file their entire medical histories.
Between medicine and traveling, both of which inform her storytelling, she is interested in narratives that see strong women rise above their adversities, as well as women who have the ability to inject a bit of magic into the mundane, (highlighted brilliantly in the slogan to her Euphemia Sage Chronicles; ‘Superpowers are Wasted on the Young.’)
No stranger to having to juggle multiple roles to ensure her writing came to fruition, Rosy is also an advocate for doing the hard graft, and we had a good chat about the business of following your dreams versus educating for practicality. We both agreed it requires a combination of great ideas and focussed action to be successful in any realm of the arts, and that participation on either end - creator or audience member - is a luxury, not a necessity. Humbling stuff indeed.
The Euphemia Sage Chronicles are still being added to, with the 4th book ‘No Retreat’ set to release in July. Rosy is also beginning another thriller this year.
To contact Rosy or to access any of her work, you can find her on social media @rosyfenwickeauthor
Linn Lorkin is one of our most notoriously successful musical treasures; singer, songwriter, actor and linguist, with residencies in Copenhagen, Naples and New York, she’s been accused of being ‘good at too many things,’ but most notably, fans appreciate her writing.
Linn was taught to play the piano by her mother, and claims ‘if you train when you’re young, you never forget it.’ Hearing Nina Simone and feeling starved for artistic company or creative peers, she knew she had to get offshore. A scholarship from the French Government allowed her to do just that, albeit to explore the world of linguistic academia.
Destined to be an artist, she made her way to London in the swinging 60’s and began making up for lost time, meeting and partying with the greatest of characters. Music followed her wherever she went and she performed extensively. By fluke, she got her first job in Copenhagen after asking to sing with the resident band. They offered her 20 crona for 8 songs a night.
These weren’t originals however, and it wasn’t until an evening in New York, listening to Joan Armitrading while feeling a bit down on life, that she took pen to paper. She wrote 12 songs in a fortnight, established her prolific stance as a singer-songwriter within her communities and the rest, as they say, is history. For someone who was seen as a ‘junkie or a lesbian’ for wielding an electric keyboard at her performances - arguably one of the only women at the time doing so - this must have felt in some way vindicating.
Linn still loves to stand out in a crowd, and has always paired her flaming red locks with beautiful vintage garments that appear as a running motif throughout her memoir. As is her music; hand-picked from her extensive repertoire of original compositions that have seen their way into her shows all over the world, and lovingly reproduced as stings to begin most chapters, indicating the style or tone of the next part of the story.
From the front page of the NZ Herald, to a 6 month stint in an Italian prison, lovesick mishaps and rowdy celebrity riddled parties, Linn’s experiences and travels really do appear to rival that of Gulliver. And this is only the first installment of her story, with a second in the pipeline documenting her return to the NZ music scene in the 80s.
She is consummate in her vocation as a musician and performer, and continues to be a stalwart for music and performance where she currently resides in Tāmaki. You can catch Linn at Epolito’s Italian Restaurant on Richmond Rd on the last Tuesday of every month from 6pm-8pm, or at the Pt Chevalier RSA with her band the K’Rd Quartet for the Auckland Jazz and Blues club on Tuesdays, and often at Botticelli’s restaurant in Takapuna.
Check out her Facebook pages for more information about upcoming gigs and events
https://www.facebook.com/HeyPianoBarLady and https://www.facebook.com/linn.lorkin
First ep of the year - woohoo!
I was chuffed to finally speak with David Whittet - the author of recently released Gang Girl, who also happens to be a filmmaker and a family doctor to boot. When David came to Audiobooks NZ to have Gang Girl produced, I was lucky enough to be the narrator for his protagonist Alicia’s side of the story. It’s as good a listen as it is a read! Check it out on davidwhittet.com or AudiobooksNZ.co.nz
Storytelling has been prevalent in David’s family since childhood, with fond memories of TV serials, and a particularly impactful trip to the local cinema to see Lawrence of Arabia. Recognising that stories like Oliver Twist had the power to change the poor law in the UK, or The Citadel inspiring the National Health Service, he was convinced he wanted to be part of creating equally moving and powerful stories.
Having worked in rural communities here and in India, David has a rich tapestry of experience to draw from when creating his characters, and choosing which of their stories to tell.
Meeting patients and their families in these environments has generated somewhat of an artistic activist, with one of his earlier films ‘Hikoi’ being made in response to a Hone Harawera interview about the importance of awareness around child poverty. David wanted to comment on this and the lack of support for social workers within the context of the hikoi to parliament in 2015.
Set in NZ’s West Coast, Gang Girl has been a number of years in the making and centres around an immigrant family who have commandeered the charming wee town of Roaring Creek Falls. The main big guy brothers don’t get along, there’s a trillion layers and family secrets riddled throughout, and the kids (as we meet them at the beginning of the book) just want to get the hell away from it all. Named after the Crane twins from London, the rivalry wreaks violent havoc on most of their lives - and those of the neighbouring civilians. Inspired by a story told to David by a notorious local gang leader, and the attempts of his daughter to get away, Alicia’s world was born, and is extended in 2 sequels ‘Blood Cousins’ and ‘Gang Blood’...watch this space.
Other titles in the pipeline are ‘The Road to Madhapur’ about a Kiwi doctor disillusioned with life and his travels to Madhapur, inspired by David’s time spent doing rescue work in India, and ‘Threepence on the Carpet’ about an unsuccessful musician in the 60s returning from London to a bizarre inheritance. Needless to say, with these all on the go and his work as a general practitioner, David is one busy Oamaruvian. He actively supports local projects and content, so if you’re in the South get in touch with him via the contact form on his website.
When we started, we said: We’re not going to give up. Publish it with us, and we’ll show your book to the world.”
Guest number 10 for ya's!
An independent publisher since 2008, Peter Dowling has been an editor for book and magazine publishers in Japan and the UK, he’s been a contract editor and writer with specialisation in Asia, Latin America and Oceania too. (Helped by the fact that he is IMPRESSIVELY multi-lingual, speaking English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Māori.) A Christchurch man, Peter has MA (Hons) and MBA (Distinction) degrees. He also does charitable work as executive director of Te Potiki National Trust, and was previously president of the Publishers Association of New Zealand and Publishing Manager of Reed Publishing (NZ.) That’s all in the past though! Currently, Peter is the Founder and Publisher for Oratia! Woohoo!!
Oratia is a publisher of books based outside Auckland, with distribution across New Zealand and representation in many parts of the world. The team is equally as impressive, with decades of experience in all aspects of publishing and a commitment to quality values in editorial, design, print and production. They also offer their publishing and communications skills to organisations and authors wanting to publish privately. I love me a proudly independent company, and these guys have been publishing 15 new titles a year since their inception - mainly prioritising good solid NZ stories in the form of picture books, histories, fiction, Te Ao Maori and illustrated works.
The company operates under the staunch leadership of 4 core staff and a myriad of contractors, meaning their capacity to be personable and actually work WITH their authors is unparalleled. Peter advocates for authors being able to have a key creative part in the formation of their publications - provided the content is worth it.
Graduating in the late 80s, Peter had a curiosity about cultures and language - with hardly any opportunity to grow in that area in his own country at the time. Naturally, he went abroad in search of better opportunities. That led him to work in Surrey with a large UK agency, with hard-nosed New York types managing the leak of journalism that dominated front pages to hone his style and talents. Being forced to learn on the job meant he gained broad skills to be able to implement here, (for example, the ‘Rights Department’ may exist for a large publishing company, whereas here, the ‘Rights Dept’ may be the same person who is also doing accounts - as Peter does himself.) But the blessing of ‘small,’ means they can focus their time and energy on the relationship with the author, meaning they get as much collaborative time to build towards the end product as possible.
Peter is an author himself, and alongside his own publications and linguistic interests, he is the editor of the NZ Book of Maori Place Names (which is, for real, a favourite book of mine...etymology? Yes.) He’s worked tirelessly to make sure that the NZ titles he’s had printed over the past year can make it home in time for stocking filling, and thank goodness he’s achieved it.
He believes that plugging away at things makes things stick, especially when it comes to putting books on the map. He’s currently managing the success of Tim Tipene’s novel ‘Patu,’ and propelling Dawn McMillan and her ‘Bum’ series into new stratospheres regarding global reach and interest. It is worth noting that Peter, who attends many book fairs all around the world, doesn’t see many of his local compadres walking the walk too. It’s not seen as a priority by a lot of publishing houses to bother getting Kiwi stories overseas, which is a total shame because there is the audience for it.
Oratia won the BOP Bologna prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year 2021, Oceania at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy - taking the title over 4 other prominent Australian publishers. The award is for the ‘creative nature of the editorial choices they have made in the previous year,’ and is awarded to only 6 regions globally. Oratia was cited as ‘an eclectic publishing house from New Zealand with a strong focus on high quality editing, design and printing.’
Peter’s first exposure to audiobooks was back when they were still on cassette tapes, then the good old compact disc. The first he remembers were Tom Sawyer, and hearing Flick the Little Fire Engine and Sparky the Talking Train recited by Dave Wier over the radio. Currently, he’s listening to CC Pyle’s ‘Amazing Foot Race,’ being a keen runner on top of everything else. Love it.
2022 sees the 4th of the new ‘Bum’ series, released here and in the States and UK, and the author is being asked for more to come, with an expansion into China. Other projects include an ANZAC title coming up in collaboration with a Turkish illustrator, and the story and artwork of Hundertwasser in NZ by Andreas Hersch.
His advice to young writers, and those wanting to ‘break in’ to the industry is;
If you’re keen to get an audience with Peter, he prides himself on being accessible to ‘Westie’ writers, and locals who have a unique story to tell. Head to the website: www.oratia.co.nz or if there’s a book you’re keen to find, contact the team through the same means.
Peter urges us all to support our local booksellers when and how you can, (cos we need them!) so if you have the chance to purchase a title through your local bookstore, please do - with thanks.
This week I’m stoked to have my long-time dear and close friend Ghazaleh Golbakhsh chiming into the show remotely - gosh darn Covid levels aye.
Ghaz is: a kick arse writer, screenwriter, director/filmmaker, academic/Fulbright scholar, and she completed her PhD by creative practice in Media, Film and Television at University of Auckland, researching the topic ‘Monsters, Slackers, Lovers: Exploring cultural identity in Iranian diasporic cinema from 2007-2017.’ Oh, she is also a current director and actor in New Zealand’s longest running soap ‘Shortland Street.’ (Had to get that in there babes.)
She moved here at 6 years old, and her lack of understanding of the English language led her to read everything she could get her hands on. She believes it was this, coupled with her animated family and cinephile father, that developed her love for storytelling - in all of its genres and forms. Though she would write stories for friends and do extra literary work in high school, she became obsessed with becoming an actor. When she really gave it a good go in her 20s, she realised how few roles there were for women, least of all decent roles, least of all for women of colour. This drove her desire to change that and write roles into stories that reflected the sort of New Zealand she saw and experienced, and to direct these stories successfully as a feminist challenge to our male dominated industry.
She has travelled and worked extensively all over the world, gaining the life experience she believes is vital for the depth of any artist's work. Ghaz is of the mind that stories are about the world around us, not just our life experience living in a vacuum. Her time spent at Fulbright University in LA, as well as her many work placements, taught her much about this. As well as how much longer and fuller an experience it is, being afforded the luxury of diving into academia with like minded people. We both have strong political opinions, and aren’t ignorant of the fact that our privilege gained us these experiences. Through Ghaz’s work she is able to be active in expressing those viewpoints, whether feminist, racial or political, that may not be what the usual Kiwi audience is used to.
Publishing was an eye-opener and fast paced learning process for Ghaz, being accepted by Allen and Unwin and the whole planet of literary business that goes along with that, including extensive publicity tours, talks and festivals. (One could almost say she’s living the actors dream..?) She is very complimentary of our publishing industry, and applauds how many of our houses take unsolicited works. I remember when the recent memoir, ‘The Girl from Revolution Road’ published after lockdown last year, was just an idea around the outdoor table as we sipped pinot noir. Now, it’s in circulation and due to be up for sale on Amazon by the end of the year.
Her first audiobook experience was live, around the tables of their family home where her aunties and other family members would tell animated tales of their lives, perhaps this is what feeds her visual style of writing. Either way, she doesn’t necessarily believe in ‘inspiration’ for stories, more in the natural ability to generate ideas. Her biggest trick for this is to do the work of surrounding yourself with similar works, then, actually do the work. Writing her memoir, she was influenced by other essayists such as Rose Lu and Ashleigh Young, and she wrote a series of shorter essays for the Villainesse blog before committing to the longer form she’s completed now. Simply put, ‘you can’t write a good screenplay if you’ve never read a good screenplay.’
We’ve worked on a few things together over the years, including her Melbourne Women’s Film Festival short, ‘Waiting Room,’ (photo happens to be the ep image...lol) and we spent a few years typing up some epic treatments and storylining docs for a TV show idea of our own that we had..stumbling home one night after seeing a particularly appalling play.. Ideas can come from anywhere, and her advice to emerging writers is to have them, and make them into content. More than that, have content you believe in so you can be persistent with it. People are savvy and will see through drivel. The more you put yourself into it the more authentic and interesting the voice becomes.
She also advocates doing the actual work. Putting the time that it takes into getting it out there, research how to get it out there. There is a lot of content around, people won’t come to you so you have to make them see you. To that end; APPLY FOR EVERYTHING YOU CAN.
Two last things; it takes time, and it’s ok to change your mind.
To get a copy of Ghaz’s memoir ‘Girl from Revolutionary Road’ Allen and Unwin 2020, and to get in touch with her, visit her website www.ghazalehgolbakhsh.com
This week we’re lucky to be joined by Craig Gamble of PANZ and Victoria University Press. (And yes, it was another Zoom so sorry for the screen snap..and showing off your room Craig.)
PANZ, otherwise known as The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Taakupu,
represent 80 trade, educational and digital publishers, and suppliers and consultants to our literary industry. The members range from local independents to large international publishers, educational and trade publishers, publishers for adults and for children. Collectively they create more than 2600 new, locally produced titles a year.
Craig is the Vice President of PANZ and holds their communications portfolio, which really means he’s the guy who deals most with the way they’re perceived, and how they’re doing at achieving their goals. Chris has always loved books and is an avid reader and writer himself. His favourite audio-read is Penguin’s ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’ by John Steinbeck, narrated by Gary Sinise.
Representing the publishing world in government, he is actively working to make a more diverse and sustainable literary industry. He and his colleagues advocate for a range of voices and authors to have their voices heard, and strategise ways in which we can be more responsible for our carbon footprint - when it comes to what we print, and how it gets distributed. He works in the nitty gritty space of where we’re actually at, and looks for patterns and trends in people’s reading preferences to inform the decisions about what should be in print through annual Market Sizing Reports.
He mentions the plateau in eBook sales, how everyone imagined them to take over the world of reading. Well, they did, till they didn’t. Educational and trade and ecommerce material embraces digital, but there need to be better ways to digitise all of our other literary resources if we’re to be able to sustainably continue to print books for future generations. It’s areas like this, as well as Copyright Law that he and his partners (Booksellers NZ, NZ Society of Authors, Read NZ, Copyright Licensing NZ to name a few,) work in advocacy for, to support the sector’s economic wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our authors.
The Covid pandemic impacted most publishers, authors and book shops from the first lock down. While there was a big pick up once stores reopened and people were allowed to emerge from their living rooms, Craig predicts most entities would have been operating at less than 30% based on their previous years. With scientific evidence telling us that reading is good for our physical and emotional wellbeing, it’s something he believes links us all in a societal way. He is even working to get books deemed as essential items/services that need to retain production despite changing Covid conditions. Pretty timely given we’re now in the midst of weeks at alert level 4 thanks to Aunty Rona inviting Aunty Delta to cross the ditch for a visit. And, a pretty epic boss in my opinion.
Craig treats every new relationship as a creative exercise, because the process of publishing is. The editorial relationship you have with the author is special, and you’re working very closely on all aspects like book design, font choice, artwork, review quotations. It’s as creative as the writing of the story itself. He recommends for anyone keen to get involved in the publishing world to look at Whitireia as a course option to hit the ground running, (check out this link for more info: https://bit.ly/2VxEidL)
Otherwise PANZ love being dropped a line, head to their website publishers.org.nz or visit this link: https://publishers.org.nz/contact/
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For our 7th installment I got to share the mic with a woman I admire hugely, she’s a powerhouse of productivity, and she’s always got time for sending the elevator down to help other writers at all levels of their creative journeys. She is many things; public speaker, workshop facilitator, she happens to be the genius behind the Writing Room, and is primarily a screenwriter. Her credits include Fresh Eggs, The Tender Trap, Under the Vines, My Life is Murder and the Cul de Sac - to name a few.
She always wrote as a child, and went to journalism school to pursue it professionally. Figuring out pretty quickly that she preferred creative writing to current affairs, she ended up in television as a way of making a living as a writer in our wee country. She also writes short stories and theatre - the first play she wrote was based on an argument she had with Nick Ward about the fact that they had no writing work coming their way - and is a board member for The Writer’s Guild.
She began the Writing Room; a monthly session where writers from all different styles and backgrounds can come together to simply write in the presence of other writers. When she began there was nothing like this, no standard cafe or environment where all writers went to get the satisfaction and motivation from tapping keyboards. Kathryn genuinely cares about the way writers and the arts are perceived here, which is why she doesn’t mind doing behind the scenes work in advocacy with the Guild, being our lobbying voice for funding and conversations with government. The Guild also provides professional, legal and contract advice to writers.
Kathryn has had oodles of experience in entertainment, and speaks about the collaborative nature of the television and theatre industries, versus the often isolating role of novelist or memoirist. There are a lot of boxes to tick and processes to fulfil when you’re working in a large team to tell a story, but she firmly believes that the art phase, or the very early stages of developing an idea and draft, is all you - no matter what medium you’re working in. From there, theatre peeps do live, often staged readings to develop their scripts. In TV someone is always going to have to sign drafts off, give notes etc, but you know it’s finished when you feel you’ve done your absolute best - and you wouldn’t be embarrassed to show it to anyone.
At the time of our interview, she was tackling a few tweaks on her play ‘The Campervan’ which was, at that point, set for its debut at the Pumphouse Theatre with Tadpole Productions. Alas, the dreaded Rona has turned up again to foil those plans, but the show will go on! Eventually. (Links to ticketing info below.) She is continuing to develop a screenplay script that’s been a number of years in the making, and she has just completed a huuuge literary event called WriteFest, where she brought together multiple tutors for concentrated masterclasses and workshops for authors.
Her advice for young or emerging writers is;
Sign up for her workshops:
Check out Kathryn’s website, where you can also sign up for the newsletter: https://www.kathryn-burnett.com/
Follow her on socials:
Facebook @KathrynBurnett https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.burnett.77
And for tickets and further info about when to expect ‘The Campervan’
Sign Up Today at Audiobooks NZ and get your first Audiobook for free on a 14 day trial.
"We’ve got a lot yet to tell, and see, and watch and listen to in this country. There’s such a lot more to tell."
Martin Crump is a writer, broadcaster and MC, and (among many other things) one of Barry’s Boys. His feature book, In Search of the Great Kiwi Yarn (2007), is a collection of thematically linked Kiwi stories that he claims he never even knew he could write, least of all deliver. But with his literary lineage it was a shoo-in, and there were plenty of other projects that followed.
Martin has been instrumental in the publication of his father’s series for children, Professor Pingwit and the Pungapeople (2009), the origin of which was a white lie about some red shoes being stolen from a driveway.
He's no stranger to speaking about his father; it really does seem impossible to discuss Marty’s literary career without making mention of the notorious Barry Crump. Indeed it seems that Barry’s way of developing stories from skerricks of real life, making magic out of the mundane, and flying away on imaginary tangents, was the exact formula to continue the legacy of publishing within the family. Whether it’s a duckling emerging from a hot water cupboard, or a trip to the zoo, Martin finds the unusual and exciting to bring life to, for adults and children.
Self confessedly growing up in the ‘Communist Headquarters’ in New Lynn with his mother and brothers, he’s had educated and eccentric people around him his whole life, something that no doubt informs his prolific ability to keep writing and forging new pathways for the family’s archive of work.
He’s well keen on audiobooks, having narrated most of his fathers’ titles for AudiobooksNZ - even though he can’t stand hearing his own voice. That may be the case, but the rest of the nation grew a strong affinity with him as a ‘voice in the night,’ as he provided a kind of kinship for those operating, working, or just being up in the wee small hours. The same audience his father seemed drawn to, with The Overnight People and The Bush Telegraph being publications to cater for people who were late nighters. Coupled with the dulcet timbre required of the host, it’s no surprise that Newstalk ZB placed him in the role, nor that he worked as a host for Radio Pacific and Radio Live as well.
He believes it’s important to record and capture stories before they’re lost. His other advice for upcoming writers is;
We wish him all the best with the pipelined Puha Rd film, set to follow up the Wild Pork and Watercress cinema adaptation; ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ directed by Taika Waititi.
Crump is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools Programme. For this, all other enquiries, and to stay up to date with the family, you can contact them via barrycrump.com.
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Pip McKay was so drawn to Croatia throughout her overseas experience in the 80s, it makes sense that it provides the setting for her first novel, The Telling Time.
She began writing at the Creative Hub 7 years ago, and 3 years ago completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Auckland. She finished the book in this time and explored her own craft, and has since gone on to win numerous accolades for her efforts. She won the New Zealand Society of Authors Complete Manuscript Assessment Award, the 2020 First Pages Prize and had Paula Morris provide some wonderful book notes.
Pip wanted to explore female relationships in depth, the rites of passage that pave our way to self realisation and growth - particularly when we’re outside of our comfort zones. Having the Covid Lockdown provide her with the time to devote to getting the book out there, she self published through Your Books in Wellington and has been an active participant in the latest Writers Festival circuit in New Zealand.
As Pip’s life unfolded, she was exposed to more and more immigrant children and families, Yugoslavia being a particularly poignant place of intrigue. She discovered throughout her research and travels that a lot of women moved here in secret to lead different lives, that in fact there were many secrets and hidden depths to the civil unrest in Yugoslavia at the time the book is set. These untold traumas and events provide the backdrop for our protagonists to redefine what is really important, and highlight the lengths we got to to protect our daughters (and mothers) from learning the often harrowing truth about our life choices.
Sebastian Faulks OBE was one of the judges of the First Pages Prize. He specifically likes to be transported to other places and worlds when he reads. If he felt the characters and story had somewhere to live on from - beyond those first few pages - I’m inclined to agree with him. There are numerous seeds of secrecy planted early on that drive you to unearth the plot towards their inevitable theme of finding home and belonging. And finding that you can in fact create closer bonds through being honest and allowing different generations to know your trauma, to learn from it through you, and from you.
The Telling Time traces a very distinct time in New Zealand’s history where club culture and shared language defined who you socialised with, who you could and couldn’t talk to, who you married. Pip has two sons of her own, one of whom pushed her towards finalising publication of the novel, and she’s certain that sharing knowledge and experiences cross-generationally is what enriches their relationships.
Pip is an advocate of self publication, and has a wealth of knowledge around the subject - mainly through learning things on the fly herself - and her work is a lovely inclusion in New Zealand’s literary archive now. With a potential sequel in the pipelines we’re all hanging out to see where her characters head to next, and the simple profundities of life that they learn along their travels in New Zealand, Yugoslavia and beyond.
Anyone keen to find out more about Pip and her work can visit her website
www.pjmckayauthor.com, follow her on Facebook at pjmckaynzauthor and Instagram @pj_mckay_author.
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Our first narrator interview is with an amazing New Zealand actor, musical director, and vocal mimic; the artistically and musically adroit Paul Barrett. His school reports said Paul ‘must stop showing off in class and attracting the attention of others.’ But his instinct wasn’t to be disruptive, it was to think about how he could engage an audience.
He was gifted with a brilliant ability to convey sounds, accents and music from an early age, understanding intonation and inflection from his own youthful instinct at 4 years old. He attributes his 64 year old voice to whatever he picked up in England as a toddler, coupled with the fact that he was blessed with an incredible set of ears. He was gifted The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by his mother as a teenager (narrated by the great Bing Crosby, of course) and it seems the rest is history when it comes to the expansive knowledge and experience of all things audible that Paul has accumulated over his career.
Paul has made a huge impact in the realm of Radio Drama in this country, working with the best of the best of actors - who were all employed lucratively back in the 80s (bless you RNZ) - so he could use the time and experience to hone his craft.
Paul says he reads what he’s told to, but he’s lucky enough to narrate some key Aotearoa titles, from Hea Kai to Rock College, a History of Mt Eden Prison. Paul didn’t go to a formal drama school, but he’s been a consummate repertory performer in well over 80 productions in his extensive career, while managing to master the piano privately and study Music History and Music Composition under some of the greatest teachers our university’s have had the privilege to employ.
Paul loves the role of the narrator in bringing a story to life for an auditory audience. His performance background seems to have always led him back to the pursuit of the voice, and all things vocal. He’s one of a small handful of people who won Best Narrator awards when (then) Blind Foundation, (now) BLVNZ were still dishing out the coveted trophy, won by the likes of Merv Smith and Wendy Karstens.
With international books, like Wilbur Smith level massive selling swashbuckler-y literature, Paul is often developing over 80-90 different voices and accents, to maintain the authenticity of the world he’s creating with the engineer. For real.
He may think his voice isn’t ‘in vogue’ anymore, but by crikey I learn a lot from this man. And hey, if anyone gets the chance to do Dylan Thomas’s 1954 radio drama ‘Under Milkwood’ for any broadcast audience - TWICE NO LESS - they’re pretty incredible to me.
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