Recording the past
As a child, Phyllis Johnston wished that all children could hear the stories of her mother’s past.
Now they can.
As a child, Phyllis heard many stories of fun, adventure and hardship told by her parents.
The stories enthralled young Phyllis and she hoped other young children might be lucky enough to hear such tales.
The Tauranga-based author started writing in her 30s what would become the May series, based on her mother May and their family. After visiting a school in Taranaki — where Phyllis is from — last year, the family decided to reprint the books.
“We found that readers were paying up to $65 for a tattered second copy and children and parents were still lining up for these books to be signed,” daughter Mary says.
The May series was first published in the 1980s and 1990s.
The series also provided a social history of New Zealand from the 1900s until the end of World War II.
No one Went to Town, Black Boots and Buttonhooks, and A Comet in the Sky are still being used in schools as historical accounts of pioneer family life in the early 1900s.
The fourth book in the series was No Lily-livered Girl and Phyllis has recently completed the last in the series, The Fortunate Ones.
This completes the story of May, Wally and their children.
This will be Phyllis’ last book as her eyesight is deteriorating. She is now in her 80s, and has 17 young adult fiction books published.
Author Phyllis Johnston has completed her last book The Fortunate Ones which is part of a series.