A CARRAMAR author will head to New South Wales next year after being selected for a writers’ retreat.
One of more than 260 applicants, David Allan-Petale will stay at the writer’s retreat Varuna in the Blue Mountains for two weeks from February 12.
Allan-Petale said he was most looking forward to having time to write.
“Long days of uninterrupted writing time is gold dust,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of devoting myself to the manuscript and digging as deep into the work as I possibly can.
“Writing while juggling a job and a baby can be tough, so, hard as it will be to be away from my family, I’m very excited by the prospect of having all the time in the world, at least for a while.”
Earlier this year, he was one of five writers under 35 on the shortlist for the 2017 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, Locust Summer.
“I love literary fiction driven by character and commercial fiction driven by story – and I’d like to write both,” he said.
“That said, I read and have enjoyed just about everything. A good story well told is everything, regardless of genre.
“I worked in regional WA as a journalist for many years and have an affinity for WA’s Wheatbelt, where Locust Summer is set.
“I also worked on a friend’s farm for a while and the experiences I had there, doing hard yakka on the land, inspired a fair deal of the story.
“But ‘inspired’ is where that ends – it’s fiction, plucked from my imagination, grounded by what’s in my heart.
“The manuscript was the second I tackled, and came about as a kind of personal challenge after I wrote my first.
“I’m working on a new manuscript right now, on the second draft, and pushing to finish that by the end of the year so I can stick it in a drawer to ferment while I go back to Locust Summer and head to Varuna.
“It’s a story about the black market in World War II – quite dark and thrilling.
“I’ve also signed up for National Novel Writing Month just for fun, and I’m going to knock out a thriller.”
The writer grew up in Greenwood, attending Liwara Catholic Primary and Sacred Heart College.
He studied broadcasting at WAAPA before heading to the bush for journalism jobs with GWN and the ABC.
“I then went overseas with my now wife Carmen and worked for Al Jazeera and BBC World News in London,” he said.
“In 2012, we got married, ditched our jobs and went travelling together for close to four years, writing a travel blog.
“Last year in Japan we found out the lovely Carmen was pregnant, and we came back home to have our beautiful daughter, Ruby, who often sits on my writing desk in her Bumbo and spurs me on.”
Allan-Petale said Wanneroo was “a great place to be creative”.
“The library is fantastic; we’re down the road from the Peter Cowan Writers Centre at ECU and with the bush so close there’s inspiration everywhere,” he said.