The idea for Battle of the Birds came to me when my family moved to Madison in Wisconsin. I was feeling a bit homesick. It’s often the case when you move. The new place, while exciting, just isn’t as good. The food is different, nothing is familiar, and people talk funny. Then I discovered Wisconsin’s intriguing animal-shaped effigy mounds, ancient sites with no known purpose. I imagined these mounds were secret portals to other places. If I found the right one, it might whisk me home to New Zealand.  But they say you can never go home. Things change while you are away; new buildings go up, new roads develop, and people move on. So when I wrote Annie’s adventure, I thought I’d explore this idea, sending Annie back to a time when Moa and Te Hōkioi dominated the wild New Zealand bush. Eventually, I came to love Wisconsin with its red barns, yellow school buses and blue, blue lakes. I loved the sound of my shovel in the snow, cheesey bagels, fall leaves, sledding, and the lovely friends I made there. Perhaps it’s time I look for a New Zealand portal, so I can pop back for a visit!