The world has lost the illustrious Margaret Mahy and it is a huge loss indeed. I met her once (more on that in a moment) in New Zealand, where she lived, but didn't know her. But if what I have been told about her is true...that she had two children without a husband, back in the days before it was trendy to do that!...and that she built her own house with her own hands...then I deem her surely super-human and am amazed that she was not able to stave off death.
I was surprised, reading an obituary, to find that she was only a year older than I am; I had always assumed she was considerably older, I guess because the magnitude of her work, both in quality and quantity, was so much greater than mine.
Some years ago I did a lengthy book tour of both Australia and New Zealand, and when I was in Christchurch, speaking in a public library, I noticed the rather dramatic looking woman in the audience...could she have been wearing a long black cape, or has my memory fantasized that? In any case, she was notable in appearance. I didn't know who she was but during the Q-&-A after my talk, she rose to her feet and expressed outrage at something. She had read a book of mine, a book called RABBLE STARKEY, which was quite new then, I think, and she had quite liked it. Liked it enough that she bought another book of mine, one called THE ROAD AHEAD.
I was startled, because I had never written a book called THE ROAD AHEAD. But she had brought it with her and held it up...waved it about...and I could see that it did, indeed, have my name on it as the author....