New Zealand author Catherine Robertson is prolific in work and hectic in life. Here, she tells us her future ambitions and health secrets for getting it all done.
Not only is bestselling New Zealand author Catherine Robertson the brains behind six number one novels, a Book Awards Trust member and on the board of Verb Wellington, she also juggles these roles with numerous activities including books reviewer for magazine and radio, features writer, business consultant, mother (to two grown sons and two rescue dogs), wife and volunteer teacher for the Howard League’s literacy programme at Rimutaka Prison.
Creating sense-of-place fictional stories that weave comedy with romance, personal journeys and shrewd observation, she has been hailed for her detailed character creation and described as “better than Marian Keyes” and “a new national treasure”. “For me I think the things I’m good at are characters and dialogue,” she says. “Some people when they write, the visual aspect is really important to them, but for me it’s how they talk.”
The novelist’s first book, The Sweet Second Life of Darrell Kincaid was published in 2011 and her most recent, What You Wish For, was released in 2019.
“I didn’t start writing till I was in my late thirties and I didn’t get published till I was in my mid-forties,” she laughs, “so I’m a bit of a late starter to the writing game and I want to make the most of the years I have ahead.”
Making the most of it, for Catherine, means continuing to create for as long as she can. “My favourite writer was PD James and she was writing right up until she died at about age 92 or 93, so my life goal would be to pass away while I’m writing, hopefully just after I’ve typed ‘the end’.”
With an ambition to keep writing well into later life, Catherine focuses on sustaining her mental and physical health with a systemic approach.
“If I can keep my brain sharp and my body fit and healthy, there’s no reason I can’t keep writing until I’m 102. That’s my goal. So I need to look after my diet, my fitness, and I need to get enough sleep. To do all that I need to look after my health, so I take supplements.”
On top of Catherine’s hectic life, what she refers to as “hormonal shenanigans” are also taking their toll on her energy levels. “Being busy was one thing, but then perimenopause and the hormonal shenanigans that came with it started affecting my energy levels. That’s when I started taking MitoQ.
“CoQ10 is recommended for perimenopause and I knew MitoQ’s ability to deliver CoQ10 into the mitochondria was really efficient,” she explains. “Writing takes a lot of energy – I just don’t want it taking all of it because I have multiple post-it lists of everything else I need to do! [Now] the afternoon energy slumps have gone and I can do a full day’s writing and still be happy about going to the gym, walking the dogs and spending time with family.”