Janet Pates was born in Pukekohe in 1935 where she lived on a small dairy farm with her parents and two sisters. Her days were spent exploring the countryside, picnicking in the bush, riding horses to school and helping on the farm. In the evenings, the family would gather around the open fire and read aloud.
She trained as a teacher at Ardmore Teachers’ College, and moved from the Franklin area firstly to the central North Island and then Northland during 30 years of teaching and family life. She now lives in Franklin with her husband.
Janet always had a secret dream of being a writer. Her interest in children's books was fostered through teaching, and through sharing books with her children. She wrote stories intermittently, but began to take her writing seriously several years ago when she joined a writing group organised by Jenny Haworth.