New Zealand and the world is paying tribute to this gifted lady for the joy and happy memories we have of reading her books and having them read to us. Her books are such that as children we will have read and reread our favourite one over and over. Miss McLeod remembers doing just that with The Witch in the Cherry Tree.
Margaret Mahy had a zest for life and an enthusiasm to celebrate the ordinary and live each day. All those who met her and spent time in her company felt uplifted and happy.
The Christchurch City Library has recorded Margaret Mahy describing how she got ideas for her stories. Here's what she said:
"Many stories, regardless of length, spring from a single image which makes connections with other current images or with images in memory.
I sometimes tell people about the initial incident, but seldom say that I am thinking about writing a story about it. Sometimes telling people is just one of the ways of helping myself to make up my mind about whether or not this is actually going to turn into a story. I want to hear what it sounds like.
My ideas mostly come from things that happen to me, but of course they are changed a great deal by the time the story is finished. The ideas begin with real things but I invent all sorts of things to add to them, or I change them in some way before the story is finished."