Melinda Szymanik writes picture books, short stories and novels for children and young adults. Writing children’s fiction for the last twelve or so years, she won the Children’s Choice Award at the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards with her picture book The Were-Nana (Scholastic 2008). This book is also a Storylines Notable book for 2009 and was short listed for the 2010 Sakura Medal. She has twice been a finalist for the Storylines Joy Cowley Award (2003 and 2006) and was awarded a place on the New Zealand Society of Author’s mentoring scheme in 2005/6 during which she completed her first junior novel Jack the Viking (Scholastic 2008). Melinda is now a mentor to future authors on the same scheme. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Melinda still lives there now with her husband and three teenage children, a dog and a cat. When she is not writing she likes to keep fit walking and cycling and meeting friends for coffee. Hobbies include thinking, baking (especially with chocolate), going to the movies, and travelling to fun places with her family. She is a university student (part time) and reading is, and will always be, a passion.