How did you become a writer?
I'd always wanted to write, but for various reasons — some practical (young family, busy and stressful work life) and some psychological (lack of confidence) — it took a while to get started. I finally found the space to write, and to my quiet amazement my first novel (a YA fantasy called The Bone Tiki, set in my homeland of New Zealand) got published in 2009, won an award and spawned a six book series, which set me off into fulltime writing, both YA and adult fantasy novels. I'm now 13 books into what I hope will be a lifelong new career.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
When I was trying to kick-start my writing I attended some writing courses at night school in Wellington, one with Frances Cherry and another with Chris Else. They were invaluable in finding my 'voice' and thinking about technical aspects of character development and story structure, as well as helping to give me the confidence to write. In terms of books, I've never read 'how to' manuals on writing, but tried to learn by reading widely and seeing what works for me as a reader. In terms of writing role-models, I loved Alan Garner's YA books (written before 'YA' was a category) and the way he blended the mythic with the modern; and I fell in love with fantasy after reading Tolkien, Eddings and Donaldson.
When and where do you write?
I write at home, in an upstairs office with a skylight, and a window looking out over the rooftops to Totara Park in Auckland, where I go running most days around midday to clear my head and freshen up. I like to be up early and am usually at my desk by 7.30 am, and will chip away at whatever project I'm busy with for most of the day.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently finalising Book 4 of my adult fantasy series, The Moontide Quartet. It's the last book of the series, with lots of wrapping up and big events, and the deadline is looming!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Not really - unless you count all the years before I began writing! Some days things don't flow, and I step away, work on something else or do jobs around the house, and before long I'm back in the mood. Sometimes I'll run up against a problem with a particular scene or plot device, and will simply skip ahead in the story and keep writing, then go back to the problem scene later to find it's more or less resolved, because looking at what happens after the problem scene helps me focus on what was important in that scene, and enables me to finish it.
What’s your advice to new writers?
Write! Have a go, and believe in yourself. You'll never find out what you are capable of if you don't try.
David Hair is a YA and Adult fantasy writer living in Auckland, New Zealand. After a career in financial services, he became a fulltime writer following the publication of his first novel in 2009. He has a degree in History and Classical Studies, and a Diploma in Financial Planning, two grown children and is on the feline side of the cats versus dogs debate. He has two writing awards:
'Best First Book' award, for The Bone Tiki, NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2010
'Young Adult' award, for Pyre of Queens, LIANZA Childrens Book Awards 2012
David has lived in the UK and India and is inspired by travel, history and folklore.