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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The People you meet - with Amy Gallow

When I first started writing seriously, I envisaged an essentially lonely occupation and anticipated long hours at the computer with little interaction with others as I learnt my craft and told my stories. Thirteen published stories later, I am amazed at the number of people it has brought into my life.

Publishers, editors and cover artists aside, I have spoken at length to the Chief Pathologist of the Victorian State Forensic Services; the Senior Investigator of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority; an ex-Major, who commanded the Reconnaissance Company of the 3rd Battalion of Airborne Infantry; spent a full day with a descendant of Paul Strzelecki, the Polish Explorer; interviewed Bev Wales, a legendary policeman from the construction days of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme; and the Senior Researcher of the Australian Petroleum Research Authority, just to name a few.

Writing each book has introduced me to more people, each one generous with their time and endlessly patient with my questions, willing to go more than the extra yard to ensure I understood what was needed.

“A Fair Trader” was no exception. A long lunch became a full afternoon as a leading stockbroker I'd contacted by telephone took me through his operational day, explained the legal requirements of “Insider Trading” and offered opinions on how conflicting responsibilities in a marriage might be handled by two top level people from his own experience. A helicopter pilot, who'd flown in Vietnam, talked me through his experiences and arranged for me to sit in a trainer while he demonstrated the limitations and capabilities of the machine. A meteorologist shuddered at what I had done to a cyclone, but suggested plausible explanations for its behavior.

There were others as well, each adding a little to my understanding of the story, making it that much easier to write and adding touches of excitement to its telling.

I always do my preliminary research before contacting them--more so I can ask intelligent questions than because they leave me with any need to have done it--and thank them sincerely at the end, but their generosity still amazes me.

Writing will never be a lonely experience as long as these people exist.

PS

I've just contacted the Senior Officer of the Victoria Police Historical Unit about a Chinese born detective who served very effectively during the Victorian Gold Rush and we've set up an appointment…

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