Touring the bookstores with ‘Freyberg: A Life’s Journey’

I’ve lost count of the number of copies of Freyberg: A Life’s Journey I’ve signed in the past six weeks. Really. I’ve been out and about promoting the book, visiting bookshops, giving talks, meeting people – and signing. Mostly on weekends because that’s when customers usually buy. My publicist at Oratia, Belinda, worked hard to … More Touring the bookstores with ‘Freyberg: A Life’s Journey’

Why writing a biography is a bit like writing a novel

The essence of a biography, at least to me, is exploring the character of a person. Merely knowing what somebody did in their life isn’t enough: we have to know why. And that, of course, is also what novellists do. This doesn’t mean that a biographer makes stuff up. On the contrary, the data is … More Why writing a biography is a bit like writing a novel

When Peter Pan grew up

Ever wondered what Peter Pan would have been like, had he grown up? Peter Pan’s creator, James Barrie, knew, because that is how he described his friend Bernard Freyberg. Barrie, a successful playwright, met Freyberg while the latter was recovering in a London hospital from war wounds in 1916-17. They formed a firm friendship, thought … More When Peter Pan grew up

The story of Lady Chatterley’s (real) lover

Back in 1928, D. H. Lawrence published a book that rocked Britain. It appeared first in France. When he tried to get it released in Britain, it was banned. Lady Chatterley’s Lover finally appeared in expurgated form, both in Britain and the United States. But when Penguin tried to publish it, uncensored, in 1960, they … More The story of Lady Chatterley’s (real) lover

Writing advice services

One of the things I do besides write is advise other people on it – I’ll assess manuscripts, offer ways to fix them and so on. I also edit, and have done that professionally for many years. And I know the publishing industry. I actually worked as a corporate publisher where, among other things, I … More Writing advice services

Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron

By late 2003 my publications list included three books on the adventures of the Second New Zealand Division in the First World War: Battle for Crete, Desert Duel and Italian Odyssey. They sold well individually and by 2006 had gone out of print. The question then was what to do next with them; there was … More Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron

Book of the week: ‘Pacific War’ – sneaking an oxymoron into the title

Back in 2001 my publishers of the day, Reed New Zealand, offered me an unheard-of deal: a multi-book contract. This was an absolute rarity in New Zealand, and I jumped at the chance. It involved writing three military histories in a series. I’ve covered the first two in earlier posts. The third was on New … More Book of the week: ‘Pacific War’ – sneaking an oxymoron into the title