Why do you write?
I write for the same reason I read—I love words and I love to communicate ideas with other people.
Do you normally come up with a character or a plot first?
Both ways work for me. It depends what I'm writing. Sometimes I don't have to come up with either—I just write what the editor has asked me for.
Can you remember the first piece of work you ever had published?
The first piece I ever sold was a funny poem that I made up for my pre-school son to yell at spiders when he was scared. It took a year for that to be published, so my first piece to actually be published was a short story for adults.
You write for many different age levels. Do you find it challenging to shift from one audience to another?
No, I just tell the story I want to tell, using the words that suit the story. I don't usually think too much about a suitable audience until after the story is written. I have to be a bit more careful when I'm writing school readers, but even then it's more about the reading level, than the age level.
You've written so many wonderful stories, plays, poetry and articles for the magazine. Is there a particular genre or text type that you prefer to write?
I like to write all kinds of things, but then I also like to read all kinds of things. I'm especially keen on writing funny, or embarrassing things—anything that makes me laugh. I love to write about history, maths and anything Tongan. I often write about my family and things that happen to us. And I like writing about interesting ideas. Basically, if I'm interested in it, I like to write about it.
How do you measure your own success?
I think the greatest success is to be happy, so just getting to do what I love is a huge achievement. Reading and writing are my favourite things. It's always really exciting whenever I get something new published. The excitement never wears off!