writing in 1989 while teaching in Darwin, during a period of ill health
and career crisis. I wrote a novel entitled The Bard and the High
King that did not get published, which was perhaps just as well. You
hear stories now and again of someone writing their first novel and
it becoming an immediate best seller, but for most of us such an eventuality
is so unlikely as to be an idea hardly worth entertaining, even in
our dreams. For me it was the usual story for new writers, the rejection
slips piling up
and up. However, I joined writing groups, took
and still take constructive criticism, and submitted works for manuscript
The real struggle though has been getting novels accepted. I have been working to develop a kind of fantasy that blends alternative world settings with our own everyday reality, and including a fair amount of time travel. Like all fantasy enthusiasts I like big, blockbuster novels, but my years of teaching have convinced me that there are many people who like the subject matter of fantasy but are put off by, and therefore will not purchase a doorstopper of a book. I believe that there is a market for books that combine the best qualities of fantasy in a package - say of between eighty and a hundred thousand words, rather than from half a million upwards.
Finally, in 1999 Zeus Publications at www.zeus-publications.com accepted my novel The 'Gates of Sunset' for publishing as an e-book, available on CD Rom or by direct download. 'The Time Tunnel and the Grail' followed 2001, and my third novel 'The Secret Chronicle of Oisin' is now out and was launched in April 2002. I have another novel 'The Cosmic Chariot' - to be offered somewhere this year though its destination is not yet decided. I am now writing a historical fantasy set partly in 13th century France - among the Cathars of Languedoc, partly in the world of the Grail Quest, and partly in modern South Australia.
Of course e-book publishing - even through royalty paying firms is not like having a printed book. Presenting your work on CD Rom, or downloaded directly off the Net is not the same, but it's a start, at least that way somebody reads it. Small e-book publishers, catering for an - as yet niche market, tend to be more broadminded in their attitudes to new authors. At least you get a fair go - provided of course that you follow submission guidelines. However, it's not a soft option, you still have to write well and pass editorial scrutiny, and ultimately we're still working towards eventual print publication.
My first successful novel - 'The Gates of Sunset' is about two South Australian teenagers becoming involved with an alternative world less than twenty kilometers from their home. It is the story of a talismanic spear, a 'grail' kingdom under threat, about crossing from one world and time to another, and about reaching maturity. It has love, war, betrayal, magic and mystery, and above all The Gates of Sunset whose presence is the key to the story.
'The Time Tunnel and the Grail' is based partly on my childhood dreams, partly in modern Australia, in 6th century AD Britain in the time of King Arthur, in the Garden of Paradise, and the world of the Grail Quest. These threads are woven together by an Irish bard - Finn, who belongs to both past and present, and undertakes the Grail Quest through ritual, magic, and occult mystery. There is a very strong love interest, war, triumph, tragedy, and an eventual return to the modern world through the 'Time Tunnel'.
'The Secret Chronicle of Oisin' takes as its main character the Irish hero Oisin and his journey to Tyr n'a n'Og - the Land of Eternal Youth in the company of Princess Naomh. However I have inserted an alternative myth into the story by sending him on a quest to Hyperborea in the far north, to discover the secret by which Death personified can be driven out of The Land of Youth, where he is wreaking havoc. There is less emphasis here on war, but much on personal pilgrimage and triumphing over the odds. In the end love, death, myth, and triumph combine to bring the book to a stellar conclusion.
These e-books have now been transferred by Zeus to its subsidiary company www.ebookland.net, just click on 'fantasy' to preview. They can be purchased through a secure order form. I also have a poetry collection published in traditional form through a short print run by Mockfrog Press, and now available from myself directly. My URL is at www.asauthors.org/award. You can read reviews of my work on www.sffworld.com listed alphabetically under authors, and there is also an interview with me on that site. Zeus is now going into subsidiary print publication, and 'The Secret Chronicle of Oisin' will be issued in print form towards the end of 2002.
Please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to my address:
+61 8 85230251