For many years Fleur Beale was a busy high school teacher, wife and mother who wrote in her spare time. 'A lot of the students I taught were often not readers, especially the boys. When I write, I have these kids in my head. I believe it is terribly important to get kids to read because in reading they might pick up ideas and attitudes that they are unlikely to be exposed to by what they choose to watch on DVD.'
Despite the double life her early novels such as Sliding the Corner and Driving a Bargain were instant successes, particularly with the teenage boys she had targeted.
In 1999 Fleur left the Waikato to take up the position of Writer in Residence at the Dunedin College of Education. In that same year the double release of Further Back than Zero about drinking and driving, and I am not Esther, the powerful study of a teenage girl caught within a closed religious sect, won her wide-spread critical acclaim and recognition. I am not Esther received an Honour Award at the 1999 NZ Post Children's Book Awards, and United Kingdom publisher Quintessence is including I am Not Esther in the latest volume of 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up (published October 2009).
Fleur says, 'I like the unusual. My characters learn and grow. I'm really into hope, happiness and the positives in life but they do have to struggle a bit to get there.' Red Dog in Bandit Country a true story as told by Bill Redding to Fleur Beale, was published by Longacre Press in May 2003.
She now lives in Wellington, dividing her time again between writing and her first love, teaching. She has two adult daughters who read her manuscripts for her, 'and they both have a good critical sense of what works and what doesn't.'
Fleur's latest title Sins of the Father : The Long Shadow of a Religious Cult was published in April 2009.