This is a modern tale of intrigue, suspicion, and the close-knit village attitudes towards a newcomer.
Riley’s life is falling apart. He’s on the brink of losing both his business and marriage. Everyone wants a piece of him. Overwhelmed, he escapes to a childhood haven.
But when he isolates himself in a run-down shack on the far side of the creek, the cheerful occupants of the sleepy seaside village grow suspicious of him. His odd behaviour, coupled with the disappearance of an employee, has tongues wagging. They are overtly intrigued about what he is doing over there.
Even Riley doubts his decision when unwanted intruders come knocking. Paradise is not so welcoming anymore, yet he digs in, determined to prove them all wrong.
The inspiration behind the story
Patonga is a real place at the southernmost tip of the Central Coast just north of Sydney. It is a small seaside village that time and developers have overlooked. Consisting of mainly small holiday houses and shacks, its population swells during the holiday periods. A wide tidal creek sweeps around the other side of Patonga with safe waters for the younger family members. On the far side of the creek are houses and shacks that can only be accessed by boat. It is in one of these shacks that Riley finds a safe haven away from the traumas of his life.
I was working as a real estate photographer, living in Umina Beach. One day an agent rowed me across Patonga creek to photograph the shack. Yes, Patonga is a real place, and it is exactly as I described it, including the shack. I stood on the deck looking out over the water and had the thought, “wouldn’t this be a great place to escape to”. I turned and took the photos I needed and never gave it another thought until a few years later when I sat down to think of a story for a new novel. I added a second thought, “and wouldn’t that cause a lot of intrigue amongst the villagers across the creek if a lone male stayed here during the off season.” Bang! There was my story. I could see it all in an instant.
Anyone interested in delving into the quirks of human nature, the great outdoors, and living the good life – or at least a life you think you would like to live. I’ve been the quiet observer all my life and without always being conscious of my observations, I feel that through my writing, I have brought a unique view on how people interact and behave in various situations, both created by them or forced upon them, both serious and funny, as individuals and as a community. As members of the Author’s Lounge, you are in for a treat by being one of the first to have the opportunity to experience my fresh new style of writing.
About the Author
For someone who nearly failed English in school and had never read a book from cover to cover until I was about twenty years old, writing a novel was the last thing on my mind. I never sent cards at Christmas or birthdays, always preferring to phone my messages because I could never get my words out on paper.
In my late twenties, as I lay daydreaming one evening, for some unknown reason, I just had to write my thoughts down. At the time, I was working as a carpenter six days a week, ten hours a day. Despite my physical exhaustion, I hand-wrote about four pages every night for several weeks. After about one hundred and twenty pages, I realised I had the makings of a novel, so I bought a second-hand laptop and have been tapping away ever since. Thirty-odd years later, I have completed eight novels.
The first six morphed into existence – some I started with an idea, others I had an ending idea. ESCAPE To Patonga with the first that I wrote out the entire plot first, character profiles and chapter list. I pretty much followed the plot with only a few minor deviations. After dozens of edits, rewrites, and timeline straightening, it was still basically the same story. I did the same with my latest book and it flowed out of me so much easier and will definitely follow that technique from now on.
ESCAPE To Patonga was the 7th written but the first to be published. The 8th written will be released later this year. Next year I hope to revisit my older works to lift them to a publishable standard.
A look into the future
I am currently editing my 8th book which I first drafted in October last year. It will be the second to be published, hopefully later this year. After a ten-year break from writing, I started with a scratchy plot and then…BOOM! Six weeks and 60,000 words later I reached the end. It literally fell out of me. I’m currently up to the fourth edit and it has grown to a tidy 82,000 words. ESCAPE To Patonga in about 100,000 words. I’ll need to go through it a few more times before sending off to the editors. But it’s getting close now.
It’s been a long battle of heartache and pain, hopelessness, loneliness, and frivolous dreams of fame. But it’s all starting to pay off now. And this is just the start of something big.
I’m not done yet!
ESCAPE To Patonga is also available wherever books are sold (although it’s probably cheaper on my site!)