Susy Pointon releases first volume of short stories based on Hokianga
You may think a story sounds similar to one you heard the other day when you read a Hokianga writer's recently published collection of short stories.
Susy Pointon visited the Hokianga to research Baron Charles de Thierry for a script. Tweleve years later she's still there and has written around 40 stories inspired by the area and the people that get read out on National Radio. The first volume of her stories is called Dreamers: Ngakaimoemoea - Stories of the Hokianga.
She says there is never a lack of topics to write about.
"It's all stuff people have told me.
"Weird stuff just keeps happening."
Pointon was recently told about the time some "enterprising" kids wanted to rob the Four Square in Rawene. They waited until the tide went out to paddle a boat under the building and saw a hole in the floor. Or the story of a Waima man who was cajoled into entering the brumby races even though he hadn't been on a horse in 37 years.
"So he rode in that race and won it.
"They called him the sea gull because the whole time he was shrieking.
"I'd take something like that and make up characters and fictionalise it so I'm not writing a real story.
"Writing is like playing solitaire - it's endlessly interesting seeing how to improve them."
The book's theme is about the dreamers who have followed Polynesian explorer Kupe to the Hokianga only to find their dreams unfulfilled or changed.
"People come [to live] up here with romantic notions. When reality sets in a lot don't stay.
"I've ended up staying. It's very weird."
Pointon says she often just starts with a line of dialogue and lets the story flow from there. Then she'll add structure, linking the beginning to the end and honing the first line to draw the reader in.
Some stories are more complex than others. Pointon started writing one based on the murder of a local woman at the hands of her partner.
"It was a ghastly thing
"The further I got into it the deeper and deeper it got.
"I've never sent the story out because there are people out there that are going to get upset."