I first met Kiwi entrepreneur and social change-maker, Derek Handley, in the early 2000s when we were party-mad 20-somethings, downing champagne and mojitos (or Manhattans if you’re Derek) at Auckland’s Crow Bar. At the time I owned a model and talent agency, and our wider group had that glorious unbreakable optimism of youth—we felt like we owned the world. But what most of us didn’t realise, while we were getting into mischief and staying up half the night (Derek included), was that Derek had almost been bankrupted, and, between drinks, was feverishly masterminding global technology ideas. In 2009 he sold his company, The Hyperfactory, to U.S. company Meredith Corporation, for an undisclosed sum. Oh, and bought half of Crow Bar—just for kicks.
Some days you just know strange magic is at work.
Yesterday, as the sun was sinking in the sky, I walked down the alleyway at the end of Tasman Avenue, crossed the road and walked over the grass to the creek that slithered along the boundary of Rawalpindi Reserve in Mt. Albert. My intention was to walk in Evelyn’s footsteps in 1944—she’s a fictional character in my book—to see what she saw. Up ahead, her bare feet pounded a frantic rhythm. And then, a second set of footsteps, padding quietly beside mine. It was Linette, the real woman Evelyn was based on, a woman I would give anything to have met before she died.
Taking a walk with a character you wrote into being and a ghost might sound strange, but it couldn’t have felt more real. Continue reading