Stacy Gregg has had a soft spot for The Lion In The Meadow since childhood. “Looking back now, it’s quite existentialist,” says Gregg, herself a bestselling author of children’s fiction. “It was probably quite a groundbreaking book.”
Gregg has written 23 chapter books since 2007, selling copies into the millions, in a dozen languages, always with horse-related plots. Now, she writes about a book a year. 2018’s was The Fire Stallion, a tale woven with patriarchal subversion and Norse mythology, set in Iceland. Gregg refers to next year’s book, which is set in Berlin, as Hitler Stole My Pony, although that’s not what the finished product will be titled.
This year, Gregg also released her first picture book, illustrated by Ruth Paul, Mini Whinny: Happy Birthday to Me! The publisher had pitched the original protagonist as a little hero that saved the day. Gregg wasn’t sold.
“Every yard I’ve ever been on, minis are jumped-up little enfant terribles. That’s what
I wanted the character to be: a little s..., really.”
Despite being a fan of Margaret Mahy’s from way back, Gregg – a former fashion journalist and editor – has never been a rainbow wig kind of author. She did recently don a swishy horse tail on a school visit to promote Mini Whinny with Paul, who was dressed as a giant carrot.
The duo had conducted a dress rehearsal in Gregg’s Parnell apartment, followed by lunch bought at a local eatery. Returning home, Paul noticed Gregg was still wearing her tail.
“No one had pointed it out to me,” Gregg says.
“I thought people were staring because I was wearing some quite loud trousers.”
Diamonds / Pearls
Fashion / Horses Rural / Urban Research / Writing Chocolate / Cheese Jacinda / Winston Animals / Children Fact / Fiction Coffee / Cocktails Massage / Manicure
Listen / Talk let’s not kid ourselves Explore / Reminisce
Plan / Daydream
Mini Whinny: Happy Birthday to Me! (Scholastic, $20) and The Fire Stallion (Harper Collins NZ, $25) are out now.