In the first of a new series, we catch up with previous Margaret River Press contributors to see where they’re at, and all they’ve done in the years since. First up is Mark Smith, who’s pretty much set the world on fire since his appearance in The Trouble with Flying and other stories. We’ll let him explain…
In August, 2015 I signed a three book deal with Text Publishing. The Road To Winter (TRTW) was released in July this year and has been very well received – both in terms of reviews and sales. The book was originally inspired by my work with teenage boys at the residential campus I run on Victoria’s Surf Coast. I have a strong belief that boys are capable of great resilience and strength – once adults back off and stop being resilient and strong for them. In TRTW, sixteen-year-old Finn Morrison has survived in a quarantined coastal town for two winters after a pandemic has wiped out most of the population. His isolation is broken when Rose, an escaped asylum seeker (or Siley) stumbles onto the beach. She is on the run, damaged and injured, and in need of Finn’s help. His decision to shelter Rose brings him into conflict with the Wilders, a violent gang that has taken control of the country to the north.
The book is an unashamed page-turner aimed at readers 14+. It deals with the issues of survival, loyalty, violence, relationships and this country’s treatment of asylum seekers. It is the first in the Winter series, with the sequel to be released in May/June 2017.
For more info and reviews, head to https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/the-road-to-winter.
Mark Smith lives on Victoria’s Surf Coast. His short fiction has appeared in Best Australian Stories, The Australian, The Big Issue and Review of Australian Fiction, among others. He has won a number of awards, including the 2015 Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize and the 2013 Alan Marshall Short Story Award. His first novel, The Road To Winter, was published by Text in July, 2016.