At home with children's book author Donovan Bixley

Donovan Bixley is an illustrator and writer based in Taupo.
Matt Jordan

Donovan Bixley is an illustrator and writer based in Taupo.

Donovan Bixley, children's book author and illustrator, lives in Hilltop, Taupo, with his wife Jo and their daughters Mina, 19, Zoe, 17, and Samantha, 15.

Both my wife and I grew up in Taupo. We went away to university and came back here when we had too many kids.

I love it – it's perfect for me. It's a nice living in a small community that you've grown up in.

Bixley's latest book, Flying Furballs: Most Wanted, is the fourth instalment in a best-selling adventure series.
Matt Jordan

Bixley's latest book, Flying Furballs: Most Wanted, is the fourth instalment in a best-selling adventure series.

My wife and I do local theatre – I make props for the sets.

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I'm in a couple of bands; you can really get involved in a small town community, if you want to.

Our house is unusual because Taupo is quite a sort of 70s and 80s kind of town – this place is partially Art Deco and the best feature is these French doors behind me that face out over the lake and mountains.

Someone told me that the doors – or this half of the house – came from a house in Napier. Someone plonked it here in the 60s and then over the past 40 or 50 years it's been added on to.

'Of course, it has all the problems of an old house, like a ship that's trying to stay afloat.'
MATT JORDAN/STUFF

'Of course, it has all the problems of an old house, like a ship that's trying to stay afloat.'

It's quite nice because it looks like a piece of rubbish from the street, so it doesn't attract attention, but on the other side it has these views and a sunny full section with plum trees and cherry trees...

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Of course, it has all the problems of an old house, like a ship that's trying to stay afloat.

Teenagers take up more room than little kids. Our three are great. They're all very artistic, they all play instruments.

'It's a small house in terms of modern houses. It means we have to get on with each other and hang out together.'
MATT JORDAN/STUFF

'It's a small house in terms of modern houses. It means we have to get on with each other and hang out together.'

And for me as a children's writer, they're all trained apprentices who give really valuable feedback. If they think your work needs improving, they don't hold back.

It's a small house in terms of modern houses. It means we have to get on with each other and hang out together, which is actually quite nice.

We have a social family situation because you can't go anywhere and escape.

Award-winning author Donovan Bixley's latest work, Flying Furballs: Most Wanted, (Upstart Press, $14.99) is out on October 12. 

 - Sunday Magazine

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