Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Greg: My name is Greg Kater. I’m 78 years old
Fiona: Where are you from?
Greg: I live in Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Greg: I graduated with a BSc from the University of Sydney in 1960 majoring in Advanced Geology and Geophysics. I have also completed courses in accounting and management.
My wife, Anne, and I were married in 1961. We have four children and six grandchildren who are all doing well.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Greg: I began writing over two years ago after I retired from a 55 year career in the resources industry. For the first time in my life, I have time to write more than just the technical reports associated with my career.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Greg: I had never previously considered myself a writer, although I had been involved over the years in writing and editing many technical reports.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Greg: I had always been interested in history and I was fascinated by the various reports and memoirs concerning my father who fought in the Syrian and North African campaigns during the Second World War.
Also, having met and worked with many interesting characters all over the world during my career, I thought it would be fun to write about them as fictional characters.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Greg: One of the main fictional characters is a half-cast Warramunga aboriginal from the central part of the Northern Territory of Australia. I had spent some years working in that region. In the first part of my first book, he and an officer, who becomes his close friend, are involved in the war. Hence the title, The Warramunga’s War.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Greg: My writing is generally quite simple prose although I mix in a few foreign language terms when appropriate to create favour. I write to entertain as well as to provide very accurate historical backgrounds. The only swear words in the books are the relatively moderate ones used in the 1940’s and I don’t want or see the need to resort to pornography or such in my genre of historical fiction.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Greg: All of my writing is as realistic as I can make it. I have spent a great deal of time on research to check historical accuracy and most of the characters are based on people I’ve lived and worked with, as well as drawing on my own experiences.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Greg: I don’t really need to travel any more for the purpose of defining characters or scenarios. During my career, I have worked in all parts of Australia, in South East Asia, the Americas, China, Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Europe and have many documents and photographs which I can refer to.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Greg: The covers were designed by Clive Dalkins of Zeus Publications.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Greg: I don’t really have any particular message for readers to grasp. I just hope they enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them. I also hope that they become interested in the history and geography of events and places which they didn’t know before.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Greg:I love the classics, I have to admit. Modern writers who grasp my interest are Martin O’Brien (Daniel Jacquot series), Stieg Larsson, and others. I also follow Will Davies who probably knows more about the First World War than many others.
My favourite authors also include the incredible historical fiction (so brilliantly researched) of Patrick O’Brian and Alexander Kent. Once you read one of their books, you have to read the rest.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Greg: My wife, of course. The only other people were those at Zeus Publications, here on the Gold Coast, who were always helpful and supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Greg: No. I think I’ve already had a remarkable and satisfying career. Writing about places and characters familiar to me is fun and I’ll write as long as I keep enjoying it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Greg: On reading a book again there are always things that could be changed or better edited. Essentially, I don’t think any changes would seriously improve the subject matter of the book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Greg: I always learn something during writing. Careful research usually reveals the true facts of history and dispels any preconceived misconceptions.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Greg: I would say that the lead would have to be an Australian. Someone like Chris Hemsworth or Hugh Jackman.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Greg: My only advice to is enjoy writing and only continue writing if it is fun. Then readers are more likely to enjoy reading their books.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Greg: I only hope my readers get as much enjoyment out of reading my books as I got in writing them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Greg: I am currently reading “The Yellow Admiral” by Patrick O’Brian.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Greg: No. I would have been very young. It was probably “Biggles” or something like that.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Greg: Good and subtle humour makes me laugh. I don’t cry often although I did shed a tear when my son’s beautiful wife recently died of cancer.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Greg: Roger Federer. I would also have loved to have met Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck when they were alive.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Greg: I play a little sport. Apart from that, writing has become my hobby.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Greg: My wife and I love the older films with the famous actors, such as James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Gregory Peck, Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Michael Caine, Katherine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guiness, Deborah Kerr, etc. etc. Does that make us a bit old fashioned? We also like British comedy on television.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Greg: Any foods, Chinese, stir fries, steak, roasts, you name it. Red, white and blue. Both classical music and modern music with melody.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Greg: I always find something to do.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Greg: Making sure that I don’t leave my family with problems.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Greg: Goodness!?! I think I’ll get cremated and they can spread my ashes in the ocean. I did find time, during my career to participate in a large amount of ocean yacht racing.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?