Much-loved New Zealand writer Joy Cowley has written two new children's books, Buzzy Bee's Birthday Party and Buzzy Bee Baby-sitter (Upstart Press)

The book I love most is


The Bone People


by Keri Hulme. This was the first book that gave me a deep sense of this country and its people.

The book I'm reading right now is ... I'm not. I'm writing a young adult fiction set in Wellington in 1943, and when I'm writing I avoid reading. I once read To The Lighthouse while writing a book, and was hijacked into writing bad Virginia Woolf. I'm too easily led astray to risk reading another author when I'm creating a work.

The book I'd like to read next is ... Leo Tolstoy's War And Peace. For years I have promised myself that I will find time to read it. Maybe it won't happen ...

My favourite bookshop is ... Unity Books in Wellington. I go in to browse and always come out with a bag full of books and an empty purse.

The book that changed me is ... All books change me, to a certain extent. In my early 20s I read James Joyce's Ulysses and was astounded at the power of words to take a reader beyond their literal meaning. It gave me a ravenous hunger for language skills. I so wanted to write like that. I didn't, of course. I learned to write like Joy Cowley.

The book I wish I'd never read is ... I've never regretted reading a book. Books are like food. Some meals are magnificent, some adequate, some less so, but all have a certain degree of nourishment. These days, worthless books don't get published.