Gary Taaffe

Bios

Gary lives in a small coastal town in NSW, Australia. There’s open ocean on one side, a massive saltwater lake on the other and enough virgin bushland in the surrounding areas to lose yourself for a week.

When he’s not writing, Gary’s hunting deer for the freezer or putting around the lake fishing for flathead.

He’s a Toolmaker by trade, a successful inventor and now, a writer. Urban Hunters is the culmination of his inventiveness, his enthusiasm for the outdoors and his fun–filled sense of humour.

Author Interview by Jill Patterson, owner of The Perfect Plot blog

JILL:

Gary, you’re the author of Four Small Stones, a story about a young Aboriginal boy, and the first book in the Urban Hunters series.  Please tell us about it.

GARY:

I think the back cover blurb says it best:

Billy’s gotta find some girls, or he and his brothers face extinction, the last of their kind living a Stone Age life in the Australian bush. The spirits choose Billy to see what he can find in the big city. But he’s never even seen a girl before and all he’s got to wear is a loincloth. His dad wants a fat one to keep him warm in winter and his oldest brother Mallee, wants six! No one knows what Pindaari wants.

Before he goes he must pull off the impossible and earn his brother’s respect, outsmarting them at their own game with a stinking dead kangaroo, a flooded cave crawling with bats and a quartz crystal. 

Could life get any more difficult? Why yes it could, Billy could fall in love ...

JILL:

Four Small Stones transports the reader into the Australian bush and the home of an indigenous tribe who face extinction.  What prompted you to write this story and choose this particular setting?

GARY:

I wanted to write about kids living on the street and instead of scrounging in bins for food, they’d hunt and cook street meat in city parks and back alleys using weapons they’d made themselves.

I had a girl, Amber, a blue-eyed blonde who has hunted with her father all her life, until she winds up on the street in a bloodied pair of pink pyjamas.

Coming up with a boy was difficult. I wanted him to already have hunting skills, but I couldn’t use the same type of background as Amber. When it occurred to me that an Aboriginal boy from the bush would have amazing hunting skills to use on the street, I knew I had a winner. But I had to come up with a story to justify him being a bush Aboriginal, for which there are very few left these days, and a reason for him to come to the city and meet Amber. Well, the background I came up with completely and utterly took over the story. It was fantastic! And the story quickly became about Billy.

JILL:

How did you go about your research for this series, Gary?

GARY:

I have always had a keen interest in the lives of Aborigines before white settlement. Some of my best mates in a boys boarding school were Aboriginal and over the 5 years, they told me story after story of their lives, their culture and their hunting experiences. I have been a keen hunter all my life so I wanted to know everything.

I'll be spending a month next year living and hunting with Aborigines in the bush on the Coburg Peninsula. They still hunt with spears and live as they have for centuries.

JILL:

Is there a message in Four Small Stones that you want your readers to grasp?

GARY:

Urban Hunters is a series with at least 12 books planned. It isn't all about Aborigines, even though it starts that way. It is a story about Billy, the thirteen year old Aborigine and Amber, a white Australian girl. The story is mostly about many cultures coming together and living as one. Which is exactly what we are all trying to do now.

In Four Small Stones, we see how boys are the same the world over. Boys will by boys. They’re disgusting, they’re hilarious and they’re lots of fun to be around.

QUESTIONS ABOUT OTHER THINGS

JILL:

Do you have any suggestions or writing tips for those who want to venture into writing fiction?

GARY:

Think of yourself as a storyteller, not a writer. Storytelling is the same as telling a joke. It’s a constant build up to the punch line. Along the way you have to hold people’s attention, to make them care. Carefully feed them the information they need. Tantalize them with tiny details. Tease their curiosity to breaking point. Then make them explode with wonder.

Practice by writing jokes. There are thousands of jokes written down on the net. Re-write them. See if you can make them better. Turn them into short stories. If you’re into horror, take a news report’s details of a murder and turn that into a story.

Practice, practice, practice. And always get someone else to read your story and critique it. Join a writing club.

JILL:

Is there anything else you would like to share with us, GARY?

GARY:

Primarily I’m an inventor, and I’ve found there’s no better way of expressing my inventive nature than storytelling. I’ve taken out world-wide patents on products, manufactured them and distributed them around the world, but they don’t come close to the satisfaction I get from publishing stories.

It’s a great business model. Reproducing the invention is effortless, via Print On Demand and copy and pasting an eBook. Distribution is the same, via the POD distribution network and eBook downloads. If I did nothing else to my invention at all, distributors like Amazon and Createspace would still be sending me sales royalties for the next 50 years, 100 years. And marketing has never been easier or more affordable with websites, blogs, social networks and Google. Why wouldn’t I write? I love it!

JILL:

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?

GARY:

If you want to make a living out of storytelling, think long term. One, two or even three bestsellers are unlikely to set you up for life. Let alone the odds of you even having a bestseller. I know you think you will, but really, it’s unlikely. It’s far more likely that you’ll have ten books out before you make a decent living. I know all that sounds harsh, but it’s the reality of being a writer. It’s a tough business to make a buck in.

Be bold, think outside the square. I could turn my series into one big book, which I’d probably still be writing. Instead I’ve serialized it. I’m up to my seventh book, so I get orders for seven books instead of just one. I’m making a modest living while I’m finishing the story.

JILL:

Where can readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

GARY:

I give away my first books for free in eBook format on my Bunya site so download them there if you want a taste of my story. And if you like my stories, please support me by buying them on Amazon or through any of the other sellers listed on my Bunya site. I’d love to hear from you too and Facebook is a great way to do that. See you there ... More on the Urban Hunters series

 

“This Series is Just Wonderful!”

5 stars by Amazon reviewer W. D La Rue

“I love how we progressively learn more about the Australian Aborigines and their society and how they live.

These characters are so likeable and the message is so humane and positive. I am so tired of literature full of anger, angst and cruelty. I find this entire series uplifting. You won't find vampires, werewolves, magic etc. Just plain old folk relating to each other and their environment and doing the best they can with what they have. What can I say? I love this series and look forward to it's continuation. Read these books. Enjoy!!”

“The funniest books I have ever read in my entire life!” Andrew, UK

Book 1. FOUR SMALL STONES

Billy’s gotta find some girls, or he and his brothers face extinction, the last of their kind living a Stone Age life in the Australian bush. The spirits choose Billy to see what he can find in the big city. But he’s never even seen a girl before and all he’s got to wear is a loincloth. His dad wants a fat one to keep him warm in winter and his oldest brother Mallee, wants six! No one knows what Pindaari wants.

Before he goes he must pull off the impossible and earn his brother’s respect, outsmarting them at their own game with a stinking dead kangaroo, a flooded cave crawling with bats and a quartz crystal.

Could life get any more difficult? Why yes it could, Billy could fall in love …

Book 2. TRIBAL SCARRING

The clan face a dilemma — Billy doesn’t want to go on his Walkabout yet and besides, he hasn’t even been initiated into a man. Can hardly blame him, they want to use the slice of a knife where no boy wants a knife to go. The spirit of his mother forces the issue with a violent attack by a giant Red kangaroo. She’s good like that — helpful. The old Magic Man wants to seal Billy’s horrific injuries under the coals of a fire, exactly as he would initiate an Aboriginal Warrior. He’s helpful too. Billy must decide whether to endure the pain of initiation or remain a boy.

Book 3. WALKABOUT

Billy leaves his family and the bush for the first time ever, but wolf–whistles and abuse leave him confused about the appeal of his bare bum. A friendly trucker named Turbo, teaches him that he won’t pick up any girls wearing a bright red sundress. And he nearly runs back home after a gruesome discovery in a barrel at the tip. He calls upon his ancestors for help with shocking results, and he’s forced to fight off a mongrel old man in a violent confrontation. A darkened alley full of rats in the city reveals a beautiful girl. Amber’s pyjamas are covered in mud and blood and she’s stained in tears, and Billy falls in love.

Book 4. BUDGIE SMUGGLERS

Billy hunts street meat for his first ever dinner date, much to Amber’s dismay. A cranky council worker named Norm, wants them out of his park, but he also wants his park rid of feral cats. Billy makes a weapon for Amber with mixed results and the drunken burp of a hobo sends her crashing back into the life she just escaped. Billy has no clue what to do with an upset Amber but he does try. His bare bum needs to be kept in check so Amber comes up with a gift. And Larry, Curly and Moe make a meal of a dying man, saving his life and making him giggle. Norm is traumatised to find Billy and Amber gone.

Book 5. BULLIES

The son of the mongrel old man who Billy speared wants revenge. Billy could lose the pups. A bloody battle ensues but Diesel doesn’t count on Amber; or Larry, Curly and Moe for that matter. Billy leaves Turbo and Amber gobsmacked with a lesson in respect for Diesel. And with a little help from a hobo, Amber shows Billy how street kids hunt pigeons for brunch.

Book 6. THE ORPHANAGE

Billy and Amber must save Larry from the dog catcher, with a shocking twist for Billy. A pursuit leads them into a creepy, rundown orphanage where they find themselves under attack by a savage pack. They fight to save the lives of many only to fall victim down the bowels of hell itself.

Book 7. BOWELS OF HELL

Entombed and doomed to digestion down the bowels of hell itself, Billy and Amber must escape or die.

The orphans, abandoned again, must set aside their differences and put into practice what Billy has taught them. Or starve.

And is the honeymoon over already? Can the Bullies save their relationship with Mel?

Books 8, 9, 10 ... Coming Soon

URBAN HUNTERS is laugh–out–loud, gut–churning, heart–wrenching storytelling at its best. Unlike anything you’ve ever read, in typical Taaffe fashion. Hilarious as usual. Always surprising. Wonderful!

Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult(10+), Aboriginal, Action, Adventure, Humorous, Family, Survival

picture: 

Gary Taaffe


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