I know people haven’t loved 2021, but it was an OK year for me anyway! Maybe Hollywood didn’t come knocking on my door to make a movie out of my books; maybe I didn’t win the lottery but I had plenty to be grateful for, starting with the fact that I live in New Zealand, a country whose COVID-response is amongst the best in the world. This means I have a stable job, the economy, education and health services are functional and most of us have been fully-vaccinated. All while enjoying this beautiful country, going to the movies (Ghostbusters: Afterlife was awesome!) and seeing friends and family.

Secondly, I got to work with an amazing illustrator – Charity Russell – and finalise two picture books about a little boy who just can’t keep still. Eli Ants-in-his-Pants will be on bookshelves soon!

Thirdly, I had the opportunity to go back to academic management for a while, looking after hairdressing, beauty, barbering and massage therapy programmes – it is super-busy, super-interesting, a bit stressful, but I have met some amazing tutors and students and made some great friends. Lots of inspiration and I am currently developing a chapter book called Lilah and the Magic Salon which I will work on throughout this year.

Finally, Santa must have put me on the Nice list because we got a blow-up outdoor spa at home. I have had lots of relaxing evenings working on storylines and ideas. This image was a fabulous effect around the sun above my home (taken without me looking up at it if course). Is it a sign that 2022 will be another productive and happy year? Are aliens coming? A meteorite, or a space station crashing in a ball of flame towards the earth? Watch this space!
Find out more about Charity Russell here: https://www.charityrussell.com/