COOMBS MOYLETT MACLEAN

Alexandra Tidswell

Alexandra has an LLB and a BA in Māori from Otago University, and is a former New Zealand diplomat who served in New York and Washington DC during the 1990s. She has always been interested in the stories of early New Zealand and how they’ve shaped our culture. She is now a partner in Kia Māia Bicultural Communications, where she creates interactive bicultural training software. Alexandra lives in Nelson, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Lewisville is her first novel.

As a young girl, Alexandra was captivated by her grandmother’s Victorian leather-bound album of family photographs, especially the ones of the earliest English settlers in New Zealand. They had arrived at the beginning of the year 1840, but their background was shrouded in intrigue. She vowed, aged ten, to uncover the mysterious past of these people and write a novel about them.  Lewisville is that novel. It sits squarely in the historical fiction category, providing a portal not only to village life in early 1800s England and the harsh convict experiences of penal Australia, but also the largely unexplored existence of the very early New Zealand settlers and the lives they created in its ramshackle capital, Wellington. Alexandra’s second novel, now underway, is also set in the fascinating hybrid of English and Maori culture that made up colonial Wellington in the 1850s. Like Lewisville, it is character driven, continuing to explore the emotional lives of these early Victorian adventurers and their efforts to create a Utopian society where they could be anything they wished to be, in a land that was already inhabited by an intelligent and spirited race of people.