Lily Max on a beach ad­ven­ture

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DEB­BIE JAMIESON

She’s funny, out­spo­ken, a bit hum­ble, to­tally into fash­ion and a feisty hero­ine for thou­sands of New Zealand chil­dren.

Lily Max, aged around 12, is the cre­ation of Queen­stown au­thor Jane Bloom­field and now the sub­ject of a third book, Lily Max - Sun, Surf and Ac­tion.

‘‘I like to make all my fe­male char­ac­ters re­ally feisty hero­ines,’’ says Bloom­field.

She has made sure Lily Max is not a de­mand­ing brat, in­stead she is re­source­ful.

‘‘She’s in that age when group pres­sure is very strong but she’s not afraid not to fit in with the crowd. She’s not afraid to stand out with her cre­ations and clothes.’’

She has rocked a great va­ri­ety since Lily Max - Satin, Scis­sors, Frock was pub­lished in 2015 and she as­pired to be the queen of the school ball, be­fore hit­ting the ski slopes in Lily Max - Slope, Style, Fash­ion, in 2016.

Now Lily Max has headed to the beach - largely be­cause Bloom­field re­ally wanted to get to the beach.

She rented a hol­i­day home in Wainui, near Gis­borne, and spent two weeks there with hus­band Evan, to get the set­ting right.

‘‘It was glo­ri­ously hot days and good surf. It re­minded me of my child­hood sum­mers - mos­qui­tos at night and sand in the bed.

‘‘I love the sea. I re­ally miss it...I called it a re­search trip be­cause I knew in my head I had to get the set­ting and lay­out of the town right.’’

This has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant since Lily Max moved away from the Queen­stown set­ting she started in. Now Bloom­field is con­sid­er­ing a re­search trip to Mi­lan Fash­ion Week for her next set­ting.

It sounds like ex­otic work but Bloom­field says that while her books are not mak­ing her wealthy, she cov­ers her costs.

The sat­is­fac­tion comes from recog­ni­tion (af­ter the first Lily Max book Jane was named as a fi­nal­ist in the New Zealand Chil­dren’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards), and the read­ers - feed­back from the chil­dren.

On Fri­day night she got a good dose of it at a pool party and young women’s fash­ion show to launch the book.

The event dou­bled as a cel­e­bra­tion for chil­dren’s cloth­ing store Rock­ies, which is cel­e­brat­ing 25 years in busi­ness and owner Shirley Popen­hagen an­nounced she was plan­ning to open a sec­ond store in the Frank­ton area.

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