|I write under two different names. My real name (Leanne Warr) and my pen name (E. M Richmond). Under my real name I write non-fiction. Under the pen name, I write fiction.
I first learnt to write from a creative perspective. In my first year of secondary school, my English teacher gave us an assignment; to go out and find something to write a poem about. I would go on to write a lot of poems in that year, including a nonsense poem.
The next year, we had to work in a business for a week to gain work experience. My teacher suggested the local paper. My week’s experience at the local newspaper was terrifying in many ways, but also amazing. That experience helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
After high school I went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts in English and History at Massey University in Palmerston North. I had a teacher whom I consider to be my first writing mentor. He encouraged me immensely, telling me I had raw talent.
After I completed that degree, I got a job as a reporter. However, I struggled, both personally and professionally. I decided to return to university once again, to complete a degree in Journalism. I graduated in 2007 and worked as a reporter for an Auckland community newspaper for a little over two years.
In 2019, I enrolled in university once again, to study for a Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology). I completed that in 2020.
In many ways, my heart is in journalism and that’s one of the reasons why I chose to use a pen name when I finally completed my first novel. While I haven’t worked for a media organisation for some years, I’ll continue to use those skills in any non-fiction works I publish.
The pen name E. M. Richmond has special meaning to me, because it’s my grandmother’s name.
Writing has been cathartic. My life hasn't been an easy one with lot of struggles. Losing myself in the different worlds I enter through my writing helped me deal with many personal issues, especially depression. If there was a badge for being a survivor of this horrible illness, I would wear it proudly. Sadly, there’s still a stigma around mental illness. I hope to help change that through my works.
I grew up in a small city near the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand. Palmerston North is the biggest centre in the province of the Manawatu. While there are many beautiful parts of the country to visit, I love the fact that wherever I go in the city, I can get a good view of the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges.
I’m an avid reader and a fan of various genres. I consider myself a homebody and I'm happiest curled up with a good book, or working on my writing.