The Literature Hub
Dr Michelle Smith is the Curator at Papakura Museum in Auckland, New Zealand. She writes history books & booklets for the Papakura Museum.
When did you write your first book? What was it called?
My first book, if you can call it that, was my doctoral thesis which was called ‘Assessing Gender in the Construction of Medieval Scottish Identity, c.1286-c.1586’.
My first book written for the Museum was ‘Open All Hours’: Main Street Papakura, c.1865-c.1938’
How many books have you written, and which is your favourite?
I have written 1 comprehensive book and 3 booklets associated with heritage/cemetery walks for the Museum. I have just re-written Open All Hours and I think this has to be my favourite.
I am also working on another book on the Early Families of Papakura and Drury – this will probably be my favourite when it is finished.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The smaller booklets take about 4-6 months to put together – this is research and writing. Open All Hours in total probably took about a year of researching and writing. The Early Families book will have taken about 3 years when it is finished.
What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
The actual writing up of the information you have researched into a readable and interesting story, and remembering that not everything you have found has to be included. I often think that everything is interesting and important and do struggle in leaving information out.
What is your most favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
Realising how bad my grammar can be at times! Thank goodness for proof readers!
Do you prefer to write about people or places?
I love writing about people in the past, especially women whose voices are often unheard and whose stories are more difficult to uncover.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to travel back in time…so I could go and talk to those people I write about and get some first-hand information from them :)
If you are in Auckland, New Zealand, and you or someone you know loves history, why not visit the Papakura Museum to purchase one of Dr Michelle Smith's books?