ABOUT THE AUTHORKoster, Melanie (1971 – ) is a children’s book writer. Born in Greymouth, Koster moved to Christchurch as a child, and has lived there since 1980. She worked as a travel consultant for many years, before starting a family. She now writes and is a voluntary music teacher.
Koster’s first picture book for children is The Reluctant Little Flower Girl, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Mallinson Rendel, 2008). It was reviewed by Tessa Duder: ‘Great … to find rhyming text as skilful and easy to read … as Lynley Dodd’s.’ (Australian Woman’s Weekly, June 2008) The Reluctant Little Flower Girl was also reviewed on Nine to Noon by Kathryn Ryan and John McIntyre, please see a link to this in the section below.
Her first publication was a short story called ‘Rosie’, published in Southern Vintage (South Island Writers’ Association, 2005).
Her second publication Milly Maloo and the Miracle Glue was published by Scholastic NZ 2011.
Melanie Koster lives in Christchurch with her husband and two children.
WRITERS IN SCHOOLS INFORMATIONMelanie Koster is able to visit primary schools through the Book Council's Writers in Schools programme, and is happy to read aloud from her work, talk about how she writes and her life and work, answer questions, take workshops, and tell stories.
Kapai: Kids' Authors Pictures and Information
What books do you read?
Everything from picture books (at least 40 week!), to mystery novels, and historical fiction.
Who is your favourite writer and why?
Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley – they write entertaining stories which are hard to put down until the end, and they are both lovely people, very encouraging and supportive of new writers in New Zealand.
How do you think up your ideas?
They often pop into my head while I’m swimming, or having a soak in the bath!
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Creating something new for others to enjoy.
Primary School students
What sort of pets do you have?
A cat named Caesar, a goldfish called Cinderella, and two slugs (the ugly stepsisters!)
What is your favourite colour?
Too hard to choose between blue, green, red and orange!
What is your favourite food- why?
Rhubarb crumble – my mum’s!
What is your favourite movie?
What is your favourite game?
My favourite game at birthday parties is What’s the Time Mister Wolfie? Grandad was always ‘Mister Wolfie’ at our birthday parties and now my father is ‘Mister Wolfie’ at our children’s parties.
I also enjoy ‘Spotlight’ and Scrabble.
Where do you go for your holidays?
To a beach in summer, and in winter I like soaking in the hot pools in Hamner Springs (we have even been in while it was snowing!)
What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?
At school I got into trouble for talking; out of school I got into trouble for speeding down the hill we lived on in our Billy cart. (I also accidentally chopped the head off my pet mouse. Oops!)
Secondary School students
How did you get started?
I made my first ‘homemade book’ when I was about 7 and later sent poems in to the kids’ pages of the newspaper. When I was older I wrote stories for nieces and children of friends.
Who inspired you when you were getting started?
My parents encouraged me to read a lot. My Dad was (and still is) a wonderful storyteller so I was always encouraged to use my imagination. Later, writers like Joy Cowley, Margaret Mahy, Gavin Bishop and Bill Nagelkerke inspired and supported me.
What advice would you give an aspiring young writer?
Go for it! Never give up! Read, read, read!
Is it difficult to make a living writing in New Zealand?
What were you like as a teenager? Tell us a story!
I was always busy – weekends were spent camping, going to dances, movies, watching speedway racing or 4-wheel driving with friends.
Once I was riding a three-wheeled farm bike towing a friend on an old fridge door around a paddock. My friend fell off and as I looked back to see if they were ok, I drove down a bank and crashed into a fence post. I flew over the handlebars and the bike landed on top of me, breaking my pelvis in three places! (I haven’t been back on a farm bike or motorbike since!)