Author Adam Courtenay loves a ripping good yarn.
His fourth effort - The Ship That Never Was - will be the subject of an author's talk in Port Macquarie on Wednesday, March 13.
The book covers the remarkable story of 10 convicts who seized a ship they have built, sailing from the then new penal settlement at Port Arthur to Chile
With half the crew lacking sailing skills or experience, the 6000 mile journey takes on an even more remarkable context.
"I've always been interested in adventure stories," Adam said.
"My story centres on James Porter a London East End man who was a bit of a rascal.
"Basically he's not a bad guy from what we can discern. He did not do anything really awful in his life.
"But he certainly wasn't transported because he stole a bar of soap either," he said.
"He was the kind of guy that if you put him in chains, he will find a way out of them."
He described the story line as a guy trying to find his freedom.
The author said some people, when they are incarcerated, put their heads down and grind it out.
"But Porter wasn't one of those kinds of guys," he added.
Porter and his nine fellow convicts were tasked with the role of shipbuilders in the early days of the penal settlement at Port Arthur.
The group devised a plan to lull the guards and when they least expected it, "to basically take a boat and sail all the way to Chile".
I really noticed while doing the tour for the book that these very colonial story lines are more well received in the regions as opposed to the metropolitan areas.Adam Courtenay
Adam said the story of The Ship That Never Was is the subject of a play which has run continuously through the summer months in Tasmania's west coast town of Strahan.
He says the story is known but hadn't got the coverage I thought it deserved.
"The play has been running virtually non-stop for over 25 years," he added.
Getting a tip from a friend about the story line coincided with the author's desire to "write something Australian".
The book took 12 to 13 months to write and was eventually published in May 2018.
The response has been fantastic, he said.
"I really noticed while doing the tour for the book that these very colonial story lines are more well received in the regions as opposed to the metropolitan areas," he said.
"The metro areas seem to love the modern story while the regions love those old colonial stories that feature our history.
"I hope that writing a book like The Ship That Never Was brings a great chapter of our history to life," he added.Adam says he is driven by a desire to find the stories that others may miss.
He says he loves adventure stories with good intelligence behind them.
That has led him to write several books on the Amazon region.
The author is currently writing his next book which he expects to be available in June 2020.
That book will feature William Buckley, an escaped convict in 1802 who spent 32 years living with the Indigenous population around Victoria.
Known as the wild white man, his life is arguably best summarised by the saying 'Buckley's chance', which was coined at the time to reflect what locals felt about his chances of survival in the wilderness of early colonial life.
Adam Courtenay will be at Port Macquarie Library on Wednesday March 13, 10.30am for a 60 minute discussion including questions.
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