About Ann Russell, children’s author and romance writer


I wanted to be a writer when I was twelve. Ten years later my first article was published, and I have written mainly non-fiction ever since for major New Zealand newspapers and magazines on a variety of subjects, such as food, fashion, subtropical plants, aromatherapy, cats, dogs and embroidery.

I authored the book New Zealand Heritage Cross-Stitch which was published in 1997 by HarperCollins under the name Ann Whitehead. A series of events also led me to romance writing and I’ve been a finalist in two competitions held by the Romance Writers of New Zealand. I also write poetry. Here are some examples of my other writing.

I’ve had a love of dogs all my life. When I was eighteen months old I was given a black and white cocker spaniel, Kim. My other dogs included three collies (think Lassie), and a black Newfoundland (think Nana from Peter Pan and Wendy). For nine years I edited a monthly magazine for the Auckland branch of the Newfoundland Club and contributed to Gentle Touch, their national quarterly newsletter.

The experience I had rehabilitating my rescue Cavalier triggered the idea of writing her fictional story and mixing that with fact. Since then, Little Truff has continued to have fun and adventures, becoming a voice for animal issues and conservation.



  • Diploma of Home Science, Otago University, New Zealand
  • Diploma of Teaching, Epsom Training College, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Associate of the Trinity College of London Teacher’s Diploma in Speech
  • Certificate of Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults, Royal Society of Arts, Cambridge University
  • Diploma of Therapeutic Massage, NZ College of Massage, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Diploma of Aromatherapy, NZ College of Massage, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Certificate of Celebrant Studies, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Personal Signature

Photo: Bill Ellis. © Ann Russell

Many authors wear something special when they appear in public to identify them. This is their personal signature. I have two personal signatures because I write children’s stories and romance fiction.

As something special for the kids, I’ve chosen to wear a floor-length character costume with a fascinator to public events. It has fabric pictures and appliques of the characters from my books stitched onto it. My fascinator includes pohutukawa because Piha, where I live, has the largest pohutukawa forest in the world.

For my Romance writer’s signature, I wear hats and glamorous fascinators. They are great fun.

Out and About Photo Gallery