Meet the team
Karen McMillan is the Director of NZ Booklovers, and is a published author of 17 books, a mixture of bestselling fiction, non-fiction to inspire and help others, and a children's book series that has been optioned for TV and film. More info at www.karenm.co.nz. Karen is passionate about book publishing and enjoys working with authors to help them realise their dreams. She is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe, TV3 and she also does book reviews on a variety of radio shows.
As a lifelong writer, Andrea Molloy began her career as a journalist. She is the author of numerous non-fiction books and spends her days as a Communications Manager. After living in Amsterdam, London and Sydney, she currently resides in Auckland with her husband and daughter. When she's not reading or writing, Andrea enjoys making candles! She also manages social media for NZ Booklovers.
Follow Andrea on Instagram @andreamullermolloy
Marcus Hobson was until recently a businessman but has given all that up to follow his lifelong passion to be a writer. With a varied career behind him, including a degree in Ancient and Mediaeval History (and archaeology) he has wide ranging literary tastes from popular fiction to Viking sea burials. He is currently working on his second novel, a mix of fact and fiction set in the First World War. Marcus lives near Tauranga with his wife and their daughters, and is the Literary Editor of ARTbop, a local online magazine
Azariah Alfante is an Auckland-based writer, book reviewer and doctoral candidate who is deeply interested in all things culture, politics and history. She enjoys studying and reading in various Indo-European languages and delving into medieval epics, Baroque and Romantic poetry, 19th century novels, historical and contemporary fiction, fantasy and short stories.
Faustina Paustin was reading when she popped out of the womb. Probably. Reading is her life, and she’ll read pretty much anything. After reading her way through primary, high school, and university, and finding she hasn’t gotten sick of it, she’s still reading now. Her favourite genres are YA, realist fiction, and magical realist fiction, with a strong focus on diversity. She believes that houses should have in-built bookshelves in all the rooms, and that ebooks and printed books can get along.
India Lopez is a freelance book editor and journalist (www.colesandlopez.com). After a long day of reading clients' books and giving them feedback, she likes to unwind by ... reading a book and giving her feedback on it to anyone who will listen. She lives in Wellington.
Paddy Richardson is the author of two collections of short stories, Choices and If We Were Lebanese and seven novels, The Company of a Daughter, A Year to Learn a Woman, Hunting Blind, Traces of Red, Cross Fingers, Swimming in the Dark and Through the Lonesome Dark. Paddy has been awarded four Creative New Zealand Awards, the University of Otago Burns Fellowship, the Beatson Fellowship and the James Wallace Arts Trust Residency Award. She is an experienced teacher of creative writing, and is a mentor for both NZSA and the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme. Paddy lives in Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula and is an obsessive reader, swimmer and dog lover.
Stephanie Jones is a book-obsessed business writer. She edited Aotea Great Barrier, published by Out There Media in 2018, and is the co-author of The Four-Day Week, a business book to be released by Piatkus in early 2020. Because actually producing books is bloody hard work, she takes solace and pleasure in reading and discussing them – through reviewing, previously for Newstalk ZB, Coast FM and Crime Watch, and as a judge of the Ngaio Marsh Award for New Zealand crime fiction.
Lyn Potter is a retired art teacher with eclectic reading tastes, mostly non-fiction. Over the years she has amassed an outrageously large collection of cookbooks. Reading to her granddaughters rekindled her passion for children’s literature. She loves the way books transport you into different worlds and broaden your horizons. Her recipe for happiness is a good book + a good coffee.
Chris Reed is a high school English teacher, author, musician and copywriter. One of his passions is to promote reading to his class and young people in general through the English curriculum and teaching a broad range of reading styles. Chris was the runner up in the NZWC Short Story competition in 2020 with his story about connecting with his marae in Gisborne. As well as writing Chris is a keen musician, playing in an award winning covers band for weddings and corporate events - he even briefly held the Guinness World Record for the longest solo performance at 33 hours non stop. He is married with two beautiful girls who are the inspiration for a whole back catalogue of short children's stories.
Retired sub-editor Rowena Mara found her niche in the world of magazine publishing, feeling very fortunate that she could earn an income from her love of reading. It’s a love she has endeavoured to pass on to her children and grandchildren, delighting in the many fabulous books available to entice youngsters into this rewarding pastime. Her own reading preferences range from romantic escapism to psychological thrillers, from quirky contemporary stories to historic sagas and memoirs. Rowena highly recommends belonging to a book club as a way to extend your book choices into different genres. She’d much prefer to read an actual book than an electronic version and frequently – in the first instance - judges a book by its cover!
Penny Lewis loves books but has an all-or-nothing approach. If she’s in thrall of a book she will read it cover to cover, but is ashamed to admit she doesn’t always finish a book if it doesn’t hold her interest. Her favourite fiction authors are Liane Moriarty and Kate Atkinson and she also loves a good biography or true-crime account. Penny lives with her husband, teenage daughters and an indifferent cat in central Auckland. She is a former lifestyle editor for mass-market women’s magazines that are no longer produced in New Zealand.
Peta Stavelli is a former magazine editor and frustrated author whose ambitions to write that one great novel are thwarted by her thirst for reading beautifully-crafted books, and her day job as a travel and motoring writer.
Heidi North’s poetry and short stories have been published in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK. She won an international Irish award for her poetry in 2007, and has won New Zealand awards for her short fiction. Heidi’s first poetry book ‘Possibility of Flight’ was published by Makaro Press in 2015. She joined the Shanghai International Writers Programme alongside ten other writers worldwide as the NZ fellow in 2016. The following year she was awarded the Hachette/NZSA mentorship for 2017 to work on her first novel. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of Auckland. Heidi lives in Auckland with her partner and their two children. Her second poetry collection is due out at end of 2019.
Chrissy Metge is an author, publisher and movie producer. Her love of writing comes from her love for animation and the imaginary world. She is the author of the Max and His Big Imagination series, and Amy’s Dreaming Adventures. When Chrissy is not creating imaginative content for young minds in book form or on the screen, she is inspired by spending time with her young son and seeing how he views the world. See more about her publishing company at www.ducklingpublishing.com
Susannah Whaley has finished her Masters in English at the University of Auckland and is exploring the major question of what to do with the rest of her life. She is the girl with all the canvas bags and instagrams about eco-friendly living. Her favourite books are adventures (real or magical) starring unusual characters, and she likes more than a bit of poetry. She hopes she can go on being a student and reading forever.
Clare Lyon: 'As a grey-haired librarian, being a bridge between the book and the reader is a big part of what I do. And by sharing my response to a book, in writing a review, I can create, hopefully, a connection to the book for the reader. It certainly makes me think about what I've read! I will give any kind of book a go with a "lucky dip" approach: I sometimes choose with my eyes closed but a look at the shape and appearance of the book cover will usually guide my hand.'
Iain McKenzie is the Publisher for McKenzie Publishing. An avid book lover, Iain reads hundreds of books every year, and especially enjoys well-written and engaging fiction, as well as lifestyle and cook books.
Rachel White’s mother was a writer and she also worked in publishing, so there were always books around Rachel growing up. Rachel eventually ended up working in publishing too, amongst other careers, so her mother’s influence has carried on. Rachel’s love of food, gardening, travel and cats mean her interests are fairly wide. She also enjoys contemporary and historical fiction and anything that expands the mind. She thinks many of the world’s problems could be solved if people read more.
Milla McKenzie-Brown is twelve years old and she loves books. She reviews children's books for NZ Booklovers and she also hosts a book review segment with Karen McMillan on The Cafe, TV3. She is also the muse for the Elastic Island Adventures books, published by Duckling Publishing.
Emma Jackson a young writer, currently in the midst of working on a science fiction trilogy in between keeping up with her studies. She especially loves Harry Potter and dystopian literature and cannot resist a good cup of coffee. Her novel, Within the Walls, has become a featured story on Wattpad.com and she aspires to publish it one day. Emma was the NZ Booklovers Social Media Coordinator in 2018.
Sonia Edwards was at home in Otara for some years raising a family then returned to work in education for a further twenty years before retiring to enjoy life. Travel filled the early retirement years, but reading and most home making skills (bottling fruit ) fill her time these days. Sonia has an interest in social history, genealogy and early New Zealand history especially the confiscation here after the Land Wars. She has completed a history of the men from the Eastern Bay of Plenty who fell in World War One and has begun researching for those who fell in the 2nd World War.
Gillian Whalley-Torckler writes books for adults and children, has a PhD in medicine, and likes to create cool things from wool. She’s been scuba diving for over 25 years, and collaborated with her photographer husband on several underwater themed books. She lives in North Auckland, and sometimes on the Hauraki Gulf on the family yacht. Gillian enjoys reading fabulous science books and almost any fiction except for fantasy and horror. Read more at www.gilliantorckler.com.
A Jill of all trades, mistress of none, Kate Spencer has tried everything: prison psychology, volunteering with homeless people, teaching English abroad, and editing a magazine in China (thankfully not in Chinese!). A born procrastinator, she's been working on her autobiographical book for the past five years and has got nowhere. Although wanderlust fills her heart she is happiest performing her comedy poems at spoken word nights and getting inordinate amounts of attention.
Sarah Reese has recently completed a double degree in Law, English and Linguistics and is about to move on to postgraduate study, with the goal of eventually obtaining a PhD. As a reader, she enjoys magical realism and literary fiction, as well as Jane Austen and the occasional adventure novel. In her spare time she also writes historical fiction, which she hopes to get published in the not-too-distant future.
Tanya Allport is a freelance writer, reviewer and blogger with a background in comparative literature. When she is not reading fabulous new books or writing about them, you can find her horse riding or walking her dogs in the beautiful Waitakere ranges. Visit Tanya at /www.livingwritingreading.com.
Kristen Nicholas is a passionate young advocate of all things literature. Her main love lies with Young Adult and Children’s writing/reading, though she greatly enjoys other genres also. Her favourite authors are Ilsa J. Bick and Louise Rennison. Kristen lives in Wellington with her family, and is currently completing study to work with her second passion in life, animals.
JJ McConnachie is a writer by night, & a Product Manager by day. She loves young adult and children’s fiction and is the co-founder of NZ Booklovers. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and is an ex-English tutor. She lives in Auckland with her husband, daughter, and two chihuahuas.
Emma Codd is an ardent writer, reviewer and editor. She currently lives in Orange, NSW, where she shares her time between writing, undergraduate studies in Linguistics and French (oui, c’est vrai!), and her “day job” as a yoga teacher. Emma especially enjoys reading women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and the classics. She is a co-founder of NZ Booklovers.
Arielle Walker is a avid reader, writer and music-geek in her final year of a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree. She loves all fiction but can't seem to stay away from sci-fi and fantasy. She lives in Auckland with too many books and not enough shelves.
Dione Jospeh is an Auckland based theatre director and writer with background in performance and community & cultural development. She works as a freelance arts journalist, guest lecturer and creative advisor on a range of different projects both in New Zealand and internationally. She is primarily a non-fiction reviewer who adores travelogues, history, memoirs and creative cooking texts.
Drew Thompson operates a successful hobby farm for pampered cattle in rural South Auckland. He once dabbled in education, where he discovered any book was a good book. As with most ex-teachers, he realised he was better off spending his time and patience on his own awesome children.
Jazz Croft is a general fiction reviewer and generally bumbling literature graduate. Having recently moved from London to Wellington, she's still getting to grips with the Kiwi accent, not having to queue for everything or saying 'sorry' constantly. Her literary tastes sway towards modernists, novels featuring moany women (Madam Bovary) and authors with a filthy sense of humour.
Matthew Codd is a freelance writer and reviewer with a love of all things nerdy. Comics and graphic novels are his main area of interest, but he'll read anything that grabs his attention, be it romance, historical non-fiction, or anything in between. Some of his favourite books are The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, the Sandman comic series by Neil Gaiman, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. When he's not reading, you'll probably find him playing video games, eating pizza, watching cartoons, and trying to keep up with his cats, Clementine and Frankie.
Toni Wi is a reader, writer, blogger, and postgraduate student living in Christchurch. When not reading she enjoys road trips and going to the movies. Her favorite books are set in space, boarding schools, the ruins of civilization, and city streets. She loves a good love story, and characters that surprise and delight.