OK, everyone else is doing it, so I decided it was time I joined the blogging world.
The chief purpose of this site is to develop my novels, the first of which is First Fleet, a project I commenced in 2000. I did so because of a challenge; you know how it is, a casual remark over a glass of ale, the throw away comment that ‘everybody has a novel inside’. My companion that evening, who I shall call Allan – because that’s his name – challenged me to do it.
Two subjects I felt served me well at school were history and English. Coming from a military family I developed a keen interest in maritime history. Over the years I became absorbed in the works of the leading writers of naval fiction; Forester, Kent, Fullerton, Northcote Parkinson, Stockwin and of course the master – Patrick O’Brien. Combine that with family ties to Australia and the discovery of an ancestor who joined the marine guard escorting England’s first export of convicts to New Holland (not known as Australia until Matthew Flinders first made use of the name) and a fictionalised account of the ‘First Fleeters’ was the inevitable result.
The voyage those people undertook, by choice or by compulsion, is an inspiration to me. The officers and men who crewed the ships, the perils of the sea, the uncertainty of the outcome – it WAS an unprecedented social experiment that so nearly failed – to say nothing of the courage and fortitude of the convicts themselves, is a story I had to investigate and tell.