Born in 1959 in Dunedin. McKay knew she wanted to write, but chose instead to try her hand at fruit picking, waitressing, and various office jobs. After attending University of Otago McKay opened a fruit shop, which she ran until 1987 when she became a free-lance writer, writing features for Next, More and the NZWW. She also writes a regular humorous column for Kiwi Parent Magazine. After the birth of her daughter Meg, McKay decided to write a junior novel, Recycled was published in 2001 and won the Junior Fiction category in the 2002 NZ Post Children's Book Awards. My Dad, the All Black and Becky's Big Race were published in 2002. McKay continues to live in Dunedin where she is a free-lance writer and a mother.