Phyllis Johnston was a child during World War II with two of her brothers serving overseas. She clearly remembers how the BBC World Service ruled their lives. Phyllis was the eighth of nine children and an aunt wanted to adopt her at birth. 'My mother clutched me in her arms and said she could never give away a child.' This story always thrilled Phyllis and it led her to imagine what it would be like to be an only daughter and wondered what it would be like to be adopted. For her this was the setting of Brother Sister Soldier Cousin, a story of identity with a background of war. Phyllis has written many novels for children. In 1998 she was awarded the Betty Gilderdale Award for distinguished service to New Zealand children's literature. Her most recent novel, Dead Dan's Dee, was shortlisted for the 2008 NZ Post Children's Book Awards. Phyllis lives in Hamilton and has three adult children.