Daphne Clair de Jong decided to be a writer when she was eight years old and won her first literary prize for a school essay. Her first short story was published when she was sixteen and she's been writing and publishing ever since. Nowadays she earns her living from writing, something her well-meaning teachers and guidance counsellors warned her she would never achieve in New Zealand. Her short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and a collection of them was presented in Crossing the Bar, published by David Ling, where they garnered wide praise.
In 1976, Daphne's first full-length romantic novel was published by Mills & Boon as Return to Love. Since then she has produced a steady output of romance set in New Zealand, occasionally Australia or on imaginary Pacific islands. As Laurey Bright she also writes for Silhouette Books. Her romances often appear on American stores' romance best-seller lists and she has been a Rita contest finalist, as well as winning and being placed in several other romance writing contests. Her other writing includes non-fiction, poetry and long historical fiction, She also is an active defender of the ideology of Feminists for Life, and she has written articles about it.
Since then she has won other literary prizes both in her native New Zealand and other countries. These include the prestigious Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, with Dying Light, a story about Alzheimer's Disease, which was filmed by Robyn Murphy Productions and shown at film festivals in several countries. (Starring Sara McLeod, Sam's wife in Lord of the Rings).
Daphne is often asked to tutor courses in creative writing, and with Robyn Donald she teachs romance writing weekend courses in her home in the "winterless north" of in New Zealand. Daphne lives with her Netherlands-born husband in a farmlet, grazing livestock, growing their own fruit and vegetables and making their large home available to other writers as a centre for writers' workshops and retreats. Their five children, one of them an orphan from Hong Kong, have left home but drift back at irregular intervals. She enjoys cooking special meals but her cake-making is limited to three never-fail recipes. Her children maintain they have no memory of her baking for them except on birthdays, when she would produce, on request, cakes shaped into trains, clowns, fairytale houses and, once, even a windmill, in deference to their Dutch heritage from their father.
Daphne frequently makes and breaks resolutions to indulge in some hearty outdoor activity, and loves to sniff strong black coffee but never drinks it. After a day at her desk she will happily watch re-runs of favourite TV shows. Usually she goes to bed early with a book which may be anything from a paperback romance or suspense novel to history, sociology or literary theory.