Phyllis was a writer from a very young age. The stories of her mother and uncles growing up were told over and over, and Phyllis always thought they should be written down for future generations. The thought floated around for years before she finally thought, just start! She literally wrote the first words of No one went to town in her kitchen, on the back of the brown paper the meat she was cooking for dinner had been wrapped in. Her youngest son, Richard, was 9 at the time and she asked him what he liked to know about a character. His answer – the colour of their hair and what sort of house they live in – gave Phyllis the second line of No one went to town.
Phyllis went on to have 11 books published, as well as several School Journal stories. She taught creative writing at Waikato University for many years and in 1998 received the Betty Gilderdale Award for oustanding services to New Zealand children’s literature. Over the years she has visited over 250 schools, mainly through the Writers in Schools programme.
No One Went to Town Price Milburn 1980
Black Boots and Buttonhooks Price Milburn 1982
My Things and the Hidden Light 1984
A Comet in the Sky Moana Press 1985
Then There Were Nine Moana Press 1989
No Lily-livered Girl Waiatarua Publishing 1993
My Marine Reed 2001
Our First Twenty Years: The History of the Bay of Plenty Children’s Literature Association 2003
The Fugitive Soldier: A Fifteen-Year-Old Runs Away to War Polygraphia 2004
Dead Dan’s Dee Longacre Press 2007
Brother Sister Soldier Cousin Longacre 2009
The Fortunate Ones, 2018
Phyllis is now 83 and lives in Tauranga. She is delighted that the books in the ‘May’ series will continue to be available to readers of all ages and that the stories will be passed on to future generations. She loves receiving letters from her readers. If you would like to write to Phyllis, you can mail care of PO Box 291, Stratford.