Topic: Ian Clarke
Tauranga fiction writer Ian Clarke is also treasurer of the Tauranga Writers Group.
Going to sea at the age of sixteen influenced everything I did for the rest of my life. The British shipping company I worked for had a strong presence in India, the land where I was born and brought up. In those days there was rarely a time when at least one of our ships was not loading or discharging in Calcutta, a thriving if chaotic port. However the proportion of world trade carried by British ships took a rapid decline and, together with thousands of qualified seafarers, I looked for other employment. By then I was married to Monica and she favoured terra firma.
My first job ashore was as a systems engineer with a shadowy firm that provided intellectual services to the British military. My main task was research into navigation systems but I was also involved in assessing battle-tank vulnerability and maintenance systems for naval craft. In 1977 I found a job teaching nautical studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic. Five years later Monica and I swapped frantic Hong Kong for tranquil New Zealand. I have worked here ever since, first as a nautical instructor, then as a surveyor of ships and finally as a maritime safety inspector.
I always wanted to write fiction and remember completing a novel of a sort when I was about ten. Several more efforts came to naught. There were always too many other things to do. A few years ago I resolved to make a one more serious attempt. The secret, I decided, was to know how a story should end before letting fingers touch keyboard. Once into the swing of writing, or rather, visualizing, plotting and researching, I found it such an absorbing hobby that I have now completed four full length novels:
- Strangers at the Ghats. Calcutta - 1850’s. An English couple search for their missing brother and fall foul of the East India Company.
- Catching the Moa’s Tail. Bay of Plenty - 1860’s. Separated from her tribe, a Maori woman moves in with an elderly Pakeha hermit and a young English deserter, and takes over their lives.
- A Very Fishy Business. Coromandel peninsula - 1990’s. A psychological drama about an investigation into a missing fishing boat.
- The Bungalow at No. 2 Riverside Road. Murder and intrigue in a small industrial town in West Bengal, between WW2 and Indian Independence.
A Very Fishy Business is published by National Pacific Press
Available from Books A Plenty
28 Grey Street, Tauranga www.booksaplenty.co.nz
or from the distributers: www.nationwidebooks.co.nz
retailing at NZ $29.99
The Bungalow at No. 2 Riverside Road is independently published through Oceanbooks Ltd, the Bay of Plenty writers' cooperative publishing company www.oceanbooks.co.nz as a paperback and in electronic form. Also available through Books A Plenty in Tauranga
by Ian Clarke: Master Mariner. B.Sc. Nautical Studies. M.Sc. Mathematics.