Quinn, Pat 1947-
Quinn, Pat 1947-
Born May 20, 1947, in Wellington, New Zealand; children: Katharine, Alistair, Jennifer. Education: Victoria University of Wellington, B.Sc., 1967, diploma in communications, 1992.
Home and office—Wellington, New Zealand.
Writer. Formerly worked as a computer systems analyst.
Winner, Farmers Mutual Group short story competition, c. 1989, for "The Zucchini Story"; AIM Book Award, senior fiction category, 1994, for The Value of X; Honour Award, New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, 2001, for Dragor.
The Value of X, Heinemann (London, England), 1993.
Sounds Crazy, Heinemann (London, England), 1995.
Kirsty & Lionel (adult), Longacre (Auckland, New Zealand), 1996.
Too Chicken, Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 1997.
Go, Horatio!, Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 1998.
Dragor (picture book), Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 2000.
Ratz, Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 2002.
Starz, Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 2004.
Leopold the Wondercat (picture book), Scholastic (Auckland, New Zealand), 2006.
Contributor of short fiction to New Zealand Herald.
Moving the Earth, Learning Media (Wellington, New Zealand), 1992.
Sailing with New Zealand Endeavour, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1993.
Free Fall, Learning Media (Wellington, New Zealand), 1994.
Contributor of articles to periodicals.
Pat Quinn once commented: "I first started writing when I was at primary school, doing stories in class, like everybody does. I liked writing, and I also liked learning about mathematics and science. I did a science degree at university and worked as a computer systems analyst. I had no intention of being a writer but later, when my children were all at school, I decided to try something different from computer work. I went to classes on writing, and I began to write stories, articles, and plays. Some of these were accepted—but at first, not very many. I had a lot of rejections when my work was sent back to me with a polite note saying ‘No, thank you.’ After a while, and a whole heap of rejections, I'd start to think, ‘This is such a waste of time. I've got to find something else to do.’ But then—just in time—something would be accepted and I'd be inspired to try again. So, having a success now and then certainly helped to keep me going.
"After several years of writing short stories, plays, and articles, mostly for school journals, I decided to try writing a novel. The first novel I wrote was never published (I still have it somewhere) because it was a lot like so many other novels. It wasn't really my own ‘style.’ Then I sat down to write a novel about things I was really interested in—science and mathematics and how people, especially boys and girls, get on with each other (that's always interesting). That book became The Value of X. It was published in 1993, and in 1994 it won the senior fiction prize in the AIM Children's Book Awards.
"I try to write each day, especially in the mornings. I write both fiction and nonfiction; fiction because I like making things up and nonfiction because I like gathering factual information and being able to set it out so that people can understand it. I like having the mix of both styles of writing, and I have met some really interesting people and done some unusual things as a result of both fiction and nonfiction writing. For example, I interviewed a female skydiver who was part of a world-record 100 women in free-fall formation over France. I took up wind surfing so I could do an article on that. I got the chance to drive a motor-scraper when I was doing an article on earth-moving machines. And I took up playing the drums after writing the novel Sounds Crazy, based on a (real) high school rock band competition.
"My work is influenced by my love of books, especially books that I read when I was young. I loved the Enid Blyton books, especially the magic ones about the Faraway Tree. Now my favorite children's author is Margaret Mahy, a New Zealand writer.
"I like to write books that have humor in them because I like to laugh, and I think sharing humor and fun makes all of life—even the not-so-good bits—easier to deal with. Another reason I write is because it can be a way for me to find out more about myself. I often write about a character or situation and then later realize I've written about something that has happened, or that I would like to happen, to me. Sometimes I find I've let a character say something that shows a way of thinking that I had not realized about myself.
"My advice to aspiring writers is: keep going!"