FionaGrowing up in a publisher's home in South Africa meant that I fell in love with language and the written word at an early age. Our house was always filled with manuscripts, books and colourful authors. This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitised me to the issues of injustice and racial prejudice – experiences that would inform much of my early writing.

After school, I completed a BA in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, however the untimely death of my father from a terminal illness saw me change direction and pursue a career in medicine.

In 1989, I emigrated from South Africa to New Zealand, where I completed my medical degree and went on to work as a family doctor.

While I found practising medicine immensely satisfying, I still hankered after the literary world of my childhood. Finally, the call to write became too great. I hung up my stethoscope, returned to university to do a Master of Creative Writing and began to write in earnest.

Currently, I live in Auckland with my family and two pets - a labrador / loyal writing companion and boxer dog / chief distractor. In between the demands of daily life, I spend my days writing, teaching/ mentoring writing students, and assisting in the management of Auckland's charity hospital  – a charitable surgical service my husband and I established to help those who have fallen between the cracks in our health system.