Gillian Torckler, the youngest of two daughters, was born in England in 1964, moved to Canada with her family at the age of five, and eventually to New Zealand when she was 13 years old. She has a PhD in medical science and specialises in ultrasound imaging of the heart. She worked for four years in Saudi Arabia and now balances her writing with part-time medical research at the University of Auckland and her family.
Some of Gillian's passions in life are the sea, the bush and travelling. She lives in a native kauri forest, goes scuba diving and snorkelling when she can, and is lucky enough to travel to somewhere new most years. Gillian's books reflect these passions – exploring New Zealand's underwater world, bush animals, and popular family activities around the country. Up to now, all of her books have been illustrated by her husband, photographer Darryl Torckler, and although they are classified as non-fiction, they are far from boring and most contain a story or two.
The Torcklers strive to make New Zealand nature interesting and accessible to Kiwi kids. Their books have mostly used unusual formats – the fun, tantalising poems that have you guessing animals' identities in the What Am I? series or the truly real-size picture of fish and other marine animals in the Real-Size Guides series. More recently they packed up their two young sons to embark on a mission to find all of the really cool and interesting things for kids to do around New Zealand. The first two books to result feature Auckland and the Southern Lakes District – Destination Southern Lakes and Destination Auckland. Gillian's first picture book, The Stuck There Forever Boat, tells a personal story of the effects of global warming on a small Pacific Island.