Torckler, Gillian

Torckler, Gillian



In Brief

Gillian Torckler is a medical scientist and diver, and she writes books for children and adults. Her published writing often focuses on the underwater world of New Zealand. Her book titles include Underwater Wonders of New Zealand (1999), and the Life-Size Guide to New Zealand Fish (2003). Many of her books feature the work of her husband, professional photographer, Darryl Torckler. Gillian Torckler is available for school visits as part of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme.


Torckler, Gillian (1964-) is a writer and medical scientist.

Born in England, Gillian Torckler immigrated to New Zealand in 1977. Educated in Canada and in New Zealand, Torckler began her medical career as a Cardiac Ultrasonographer. In 1996 Torckler became a Medical Research Scientist (Ultrasound), work she continues to do today.

Gillian Torckler writes books for children and adults. Her books include: Underwater Wonders of New Zealand (1999), Kiwi Adventures – Snorkelling (2002) and Kiwi Adventures – Trout Fishing (2002), all of which feature the work of Torckler’s husband, professional photographer, Darryl Torckler.

Gillian Torckler lives in Warkworth and is available for school visits through the Writers in Schools programme.

Life-Size Guide to New Zealand Fish (2003) by Gillian and Darryl Torckler has full colour photos and informative text.

What Am I? (2003) introduces eleven living things form New Zealand's ocean in a fun and non threatening way for younger children, whilst providing enough intrigue and information for older children. Photos and rhymes gives clues to help the reader guess the identity of the creature.

Further books include, Real-size Guide to the New Zealand Rocky Shore (2004); Destination Southern Lakes (2006); Destination Auckland (2007); The Stuck There Forever Boat (2008); Top New Zealand Dive Sites (2008), and You've Only Just Begun (2009).


Gillian Torckler is happy to speak with any age group, and is willing to travel outside of her region for school visits. Torckler can talk about being a picture book writer, a photographer, a writer/illustrator, and a non-fiction writer. She can give an introduction and talk, a reading, and take a Q&A session. She can also run workshops, a gifted and talented talk, and a performance with props. She can also undertake an extended school attachment. She can speak about the underwater world of New Zealand and the Pacific, snorkelling, diving, adventures, photography and the marine environment. Gillian Torckler would prefer to speak to 20-30 students at a time, though is comfortable talking with larger numbers.

KAPAI: Kids' Authors' Pictures and Information

Some Questions for Gillian Torckler

Where do you live?
Warkworth in New Zealand.

What books do you like to read?
Novels, non-fiction, picture books, and nature books.

Who is your favourite author?
Children’s books author would be Lynley Dodd and Julia Davidson and for adult books, Barbara Kingsolver.

How do you think up your ideas?
They come to me at all kinds of times – driving the car, in bed, while swimming under water.

What is the best thing about being an author?
Sharing great stories and my experiences with children.

Some Questions from Primary School Students

What sort of pets do you have?

None – we travel often and they would have to spend too much time alone. We live in the bush and share that with lots of birds.

What is your favourite colour?
All of them.

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite movie?
The Lion King

What is your favourite game?

What is the most fun thing about being an author?

Being able to research and write about things I am passionate about.

How do you make books?
I think of an idea and try to develop a new angle or area, which has not been written about. I read a lot and then start to write down ideas and then the book grows from there.

Where do you go for your holidays?
To the beach to go snorkelling and diving.

What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?
Put a weta in someone’s bed during a school camp at Huia, West Auckland.

Questions for Secondary School Students

How did you get started?
I decided what I wanted to write and approached a publisher with a proposal. It was turned down, but the second proposal I wrote became a book.

Who inspired you when you were getting started?
My husband, who is an award-winning photographer.

What advice would you give an aspiring young writer?
Write your ideas down everyday. Go over your ideas and choose one to explore. Write everything down and then review your writing. Then, start writing all
over again.

Is it difficult to make a living in New Zealand?
Yes and no. You need to be realistic about how much money you will receive, and be willing to write different kinds of books.

What were you like as a teenager?

Hard-working. I studied and achieved good marks, but I also worked 15 hours a week at the local supermarket. Fun-loving. I also had a lot of fun going to the beach and to parties. I juggled my time very well then, as I do now.


  • Gillian Torckler’s website profile

Updated January 2017.