Maurice Gee is a name that has been in NZ fiction for years… and years.  A popular author, his popularity climbed with the release of the movie, In My Fathers Den, which he first wrote in1972.

The first Maurice Gee book I remember, was one we read in class, Under the Mountain (1979), a story about twins who had extraordinary powers and were required to bring down the mad Wilberforces.  It made me look at reading in a whole new way. 

When I discovered a new book in the library by Maurice Gee, I had to read it.  The Half Men of O (1982) about a young girl who crawls through a cave in Collingwood and discovers a whole new world.

Without being aware of it, I was being introduced to a new kind of writing, Speculative Fiction.  I couldn’t get enough and had to read more, so when I found out that he had expanded on the Half Men of O with The Priests of Ferris (1984) and Motherstone (1985), I had to read them.  I was hooked.  Following that was a historical piece, Fire Raiser (1986).

What made me all the more endeared to this man was the fact that he was writing from the very city I lived in, Nelson.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, Maurice Gee had ignited a passion within me that would finally become a full blown blaze at the grand old age of 34, when I realised that if I didn’t write anything, how was I expecting everyone to take me seriously as a writer!

So Maurice, I know you probably don’t google your name, or even read blogs like this, but I just wanted you to know, that if I hadn’t read your books as a young girl at Auckland Point School in Nelson, I don’t think I would have the passion and the desire to write like I do today, so thank you for the wonderful books that led me through the gateway to magical worlds of wonder, splendour and imagination.  I will always be grateful.  :o)

Under the Half Men of O…

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