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Michelle Vernal

Oxford, New Zealand


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Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal and after years of sniggering at the tele advert I myself now fall into the age bracket of women who from time to time may suffer from LBS. I live in the gorgeous wee South Island town of Oxford in New Zealand where the cheese scones are superb and there is always loads more going on than meets the eye. My hubby Paul has been busy renovating our cottage in between working flat out for the last two years and these days it is looking pretty fab. It sits on a nice big section where one day my tomatoes will ripen and my Annabel Langbein / Hugh Fearnely-wotsit organic lifestyle fantasy will become reality. In the meantime though there is heaps of room for our two boys Joshua aged 10 and Daniel who is 9 to run around along with the cat Blue and the hens who are not feeling the love and refuse to lay.

When the boys are at school and I am not lamenting life with my walking buddies or if it is that time of the month, hibernating while I snaffle the aforementioned cheese scones I write.

This is something I came to later in life when Joshua was a baby and having those lovely long day sleeps. I happily penned PC opinion style pieces for various NZ parenting magazines but when Daniel was born I decided to set myself the challenge of writing a book. The joy of writing a novel was the freedom to be oh so un-PC hence the title of my book The Brazilian Job. When it was finished I sent it off to all the big houses and then sat back waiting to find myself transported onto the road to fame and fortune. Sadly my feet stayed firmly planted in Middleton Road in Christchurch's Riccarton where we used to live.

A gap year spent travelling distracted me for a while but when we got back and moved to Oxford I decided to try again. This time I self-published with a small Orewa based firm and sold my novel on-line and through Emma's at Oxford. I became world famous in Oxford and it was fun while it lasted but it wasn't the dream. The dream was to be published by a major publishing house and until that happened I didn't really feel I could call myself a writer. Eventually though The Brazilian Job, thanks to Emma shoving it under the nose of a Penguin Rep came to their attention and I received an email that saw me hyperventilating and Mum hot footing it down to Emma's shop with a bottle of champers. It was all systems go only it wasn't because Penguin restructured and my book went by the by.

Determined not to let the experience get me down I got back on the proverbial horse and wrote two novels which in hindsight were fairly awful but I was desperate to keep in with the publishing houses while they still knew my name. In the meantime I kept submitting The Brazilian Job which thanks to the Manuscript Monday process had interest shown in it by Pan MacMillan Australia. I spent all of last year editing it for them which was a great learning curve while using all this new found knowledge to write my fourth novel titled Second Hand Jane. The Brazilian Job was knocked back at the last hurdle. This was in the week before Christmas and it was a good job Paul bought me some cool stuff for Christmas.

I can’t begin to describe the frustration of constantly waiting to hear back from publishing houses and someone recently described me a glutton for punishment. I think I am just a really stubborn and determined old Goat though just ask my hubby. I have now joined the digital era and published The Brazilian Job, Second Hand Jane and my latest novel Being Shirley to Amazon. The goal posts have shifted but the original dream (not the one about becoming a famous rock star when I grew up or dating Axyl Rose) but the one about being traditionally published still lingers on.

Interests: Travel, Writing, Reading, Home Decoration, Vintage bric a brac

Published writer: No

Freelance: No


Published works:


  • Being Shirley
  • Second Hand Jane
  • Second Hand Jane
  • The Brazilian Job