Arbeat Publishers

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like the solitude of writing and immersing myself in a character, a place and a time. I enjoy traveling to where my stories take place - like Central Australia for The Legend of Lasseter’s Reef, or Anzac Cove for Simpson and his Donkey. I like to search for the truth, but hope that through my books readers can discover not just the truth, but also an understanding of the past.

Do you have a favourite book that you have read more than once?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway is a favourite. My father read it to me when I was young. I’ve reread it many times. It’s a wonderful story of man's place within nature. It’s about pride, determination and honor in defeat. I like the way Hemmingway uses characters to represent ideas or concepts - the magnificent marlin, the destructive sharks, lions on the beach.

Where is your most favourite place in the world?

I love my country, especially the rugged beauty of West Australia - the Pilbara, the Goldfields and the Kimberley. Outside of the great southern land, I enjoy visiting Montserrat, a tiny island in the Caribbean. The “Emerald Isle” has beautiful people, lush mountain rainforests, calypso and reggae music, winding mountain roads, miles of pirate coastline with black-sand beaches... and its own active volcano.

Where do you get your ideas to write?

It may be something as simple as a dog-eared photo with a question that teases my imagination or an artifact that generates, interest and discussion - a nugget of gold, a relic of war, a shipwreck coin. Those of us who write about history enjoy the hunt. We love to fossick for sources of information. We enjoy he smell and feel of old newspapers, antique maps and rare books. We’re all curious about the past and that curiosity leads to lots of reading, which leads to ideas.

When did your passion for writing begin?

I guess I’ve always had a passion for words and rhythm. I love playing the drums and the world of music. Writing my thoughts down to create song lyrics was the vital habit that eventually led to writing books. I associate language and rhythm with pleasure. Initially music was a pleasurable way for me to connect with people. Now I find writing gives me that satisfaction.

What are your hobbies?

Playing the drums
Fossicking for rocks and minerals, gemstones and fossils and gold nuggets!
Scouring antique markets around the world for artefacts and curiosities
Collecting rare books and music from around the planet
Travelling

Advice......

Find yourself a good book … one that takes you to places never imagined or shows you things that dazzle your mind. Find a book that challenges you to think about the world and your place in it. Read a yarn that tweaks your sense of adventure. Find a book that inspires you to discover more.


INTERVIEW with Mark Greenwood

To some a book might just be a good story. For author Mark Greenwood, it’s a chance to connect with his audience, fire their imaginations and teach them something.

As the author of seven books, Mark has an interest in history and a passion for words. He is also a musician and uses his love for music as a way to connect with young people, stimulate their creativity and to foster an interest in English and writing.

His book Fortuyn’s Ghost, tells the story of an ill-fated Dutch East India ship last seen off the coast of South Africa and quite probably one of three lesser-known ships wrecked off the WA coast.

“I wanted to write something about the shipwreck coast,” says the 49-year-old father of two who was inspired by a trip to the Abrolhos Islands. “But it’s also a chance to look at legends and use the wonderful language of the sea and its incredibly powerful elements to explore some of Australia’s maritime history.”

Mark uses his books as a basis for workshops where children explore language, writing and story telling as he tries to encourage a long-term passion for books. He also works with many children at risk in metropolitan and remote areas mixing music and words to develop their natural curiosity about books and rhythm.

“I do a lot of research for my books, like travelling to The Netherlands for Fortuyn’s Ghost or to Gallipoli for Simpson and his Donkey,” explains Mark. “I learn a lot about my subject and can turn that into workshops for kids. I also get a chance to see what kind of things interest them when they are reading.

“When I go to a class I try to not think of myself as a teacher. Kids want something different in an author coming to their school. I have to entertain them but I work on being a real person who does real things and can maybe encourage them to think writing is something they want to do.
“My aim is to instil pride and self-belief in students through the work they produce and show that writing and creating can be great fun.”


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