Writing grows on you

SOUTH Fremantle author Murray Cameron was in a hurry to get his  debut novel out to the masses, but he couldn’t find the right editor and decided to self-publish.

“I’m too young and too impatient,” the 85-year-old told the Herald.

The original book was too big and had to be split into two, And Mighty Oaks and its sequel, Corriedale

Cameron packs a great deal of his own life into protagonist Roddy McKenzie.

Like Roddy, Cameron hails from the Scottish Highlands and was drafted into the British army, served in a highland regiment, and emigrated to Australia, where he worked as a station hand in the 1950s.

• Murray Cameron. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Down under, Cameron completed a psychology degree and took up a career in people development and training.

Retirement was too tame for the energetic Cameron and aged 81 he was back at university where he completed a history degree.

“I went to university because I’m dilatory and needed to get self discipline to write,” he says.

The dense novels span 30 years and depicts the snobbery of the English class system and life in Australia as seen through the eyes of a new chum.

A pre-opera house Sydney is laid out in detail, including its pubs, and it’s easy to recognise places in Perth circa 1950.

The characters are at times one dimensional, and I would have liked Roddy better if he had a few flaws, but Cameron wanted a book that looked at the better side of human nature, rather than the gritty novels and films of today.

“It really is a break away from all the harsh cruel hate that is about at the moment. I rebelled against that, there is a better world,” he says.

Published through Xlibris, And Mighty Oaks and Corriedale will be launched at Saga Books in South Fremantle, Sunday December 9, at 8pm.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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