Wendyl Nissen is an Auckland journalist who works across newspapers, magazines, television and radio. She is the author of Bitch and Famous (Penguin), a memoir of her time editing women’s magazines and wrangling celebrities published in 2008, Domestic Goddess on a Budget (Penguin) a guide to making your own cleaning and beauty products as well as tips for saving money, published in May 2009, and has just completed her first novel – a romantic thriller titled The Road from Midnight. She is married to writer Paul Little, they have five children, a granddaughter, three cats, one dog and three laying chickens.
Wendyl has stayed at the centre three times when she had a looming deadline, once in 2009, in 2011 and again this year. After her latest visit she has undertaken to donate cleaning products to the centre, so laundry can now be washed in her range of rose or patchoulli-scented laundry powder.
I came to the Michael King Centre a desperate woman. I had spent two years attempting to write my first novel The Road from Midnight and had escaped to all sorts of places including my old caravan by the beach, a friend’s bach on Waiheke, and rather excessively two weeks in Venice. (Some of the novel is set in Venice). My publisher was losing her patience and I just needed to buckle down and get it finished.
I was initially concerned that the centre might be one of those places only serious writers who had studied under Bill Manhire could use, but was immediately encouraged and welcomed by the administrator Karren Beanland. From the first day of my two weeks in the front room I found the peace and quiet, the wonderful views and facilities just what I needed and soon I was bashing out 3500 to 4000 words a day. Good words too. Uninterrupted and allowed to flow into sentences. It has been the most productive writing session I have ever experienced and I encourage it to anyone with a novel or any writing project sitting on their shoulder. Many thanks to Karren and Tania.