Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Tauranga in 1965, grew up in Te Puke and Napier, and spent most of my working life in Wellington. I currently live in Bangkok, Thailand with my wife Kerry, who has just begun a 3–4 year posting to the New Zealand Embassy here.
Where did you go to school? Did you have a nickname?
I completed my primary school years at Fairhaven Primary in Te Puke, then Eskdale School, in the Esk Valley, north of Napier. My high school was Napier Boys High School. As for nicknames, my surname is ‘Hair’, so I had a lot of nicknames.
What were you like in school? What was the most outrageous thing you did there?
I was a diligent, hard-working student, who enjoyed most subjects, and loved soccer. I wasn’t at all outrageous.
What was your favourite book growing up?
During primary school, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, by Alan Garner. During high school it was The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, which I read every year of my teens.
What is your favourite movie?
Being a huge Tolkien fan I really loved the Lord of the Rings movies that Peter Jackson made – and I was an extra in The Two Towers – but my all-time favourite is actually Almost Famous, a story about a young man starting out as a rock journalist in the 70s. It’s funny, and full of great moments, and I love the music.
Who inspired you to write?
No specific writer – I just loved reading, and wanted to try and do it myself.
How did you get started? How old were you?
I was old! Well, 36 to be exact. I’d been meaning to give it a try right through my late 20s and early 30s, but life was too busy. When I finally gave it a go, my first book was rejected, and I got discouraged. But I tried again in 2007 (then aged 42) and it got accepted, and now I’m a full-time writer. So it’s never too late to fulfil a dream!
Why did you want to be a writer?
Because I loved the imaginary worlds that other writers built, and the characters they put in those worlds, and was sure I could do it too.
How do you think up ideas?
I don’t know – they just hit me. Having said that, I’m very interested in history, especially Greece and Rome, mythology and travel, and most of my stories are inspired by those things.
Do you have a special place where you write?
No, just whatever is the best room in whichever house I’m living in to write in. Usually we set aside a study for me.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Being your own boss, and getting to do what you’ve always wanted to – to create stories and imaginary worlds.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Sometimes it feels like I’m never not writing. But when that happens I like to run, walk in parks, and be a tourist. And I’ve always got music on.
What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author?
Well, I worked for 20 years in financial services … but if I could be anything at all, then a professional footballer.
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Yikes – there are so many! All sorts of people from the past, but let’s go with Julius Caesar because I studied him at university and it would be good to clear up a couple of things; oh, and David Bowie!
The Aotearoa series (Young Adult)
Book 1 – The Bone Tiki (2009)
Book 2 – The Taniwha’s Tear (2009)
Book 3 – The Lost Tohunga (2011)
Book 4 – Justice and Utu (2012)
Book 5 – Ghosts of Parihaka (2013)
Book 6 – Magic and Makutu (2014)
The Return of Ravana series (Young Adult)
Book 1 – Pyre of Queens [also known as The Pyre] (2010)
Book 2 – The Ghost Bride [also known as Swayamvara] (2011)
Book 3 – Souls in Exile (2011)
Book 4 – King of Lanka (2012)
The Moontide Quartet series (Adult)
Book 1 – Mage’s Blood (2012)
Book 2 – Scarlet Tides (2013)
Book 3 – Unholy War (2014)
Book 4 – Ascendant’s Rite (2015)
1916: Dig for Victory (Kiwis at War book 3), Scholastic (2016)
The Bone Tiki: Best First Novel at the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards
Pyre of Queens: Young Adult Award at the 2012 LIANZA Book Awards