A Conversation with Chris Twyman, author of recently published adventure novel Tracked: An Outback Mystery
Much of your book Tracked: An Outback Mystery is set in the Australian Outback. Are you personally familiar with Outback Australia?
Yes. I first went to the Northern Territory when I was 19, hitch-hiking from Sydney and eventually landing a job at the now defunct Rum Jungle uranium mine. It was hard work in a hot place, but I guess you could say that about a lot of jobs.
Today’s Territory is much more civilised than it was in the early sixties, but it still has a raw edge. It keeps that sense of people on the move, people passing through. My spin on it is expressed in my novel Tracked where there is a reflection on the difference between Old Territory and New Territory. The simplest way to put it is to say what the cop at Rum Jungle told me when he was giving me a lift to the mine. “There are only two kinds of people here,” he said. “The ones trying to get away from the law and the ones trying to get away from their wives.”
Nowadays, with the great gains in communications, the New Territory does not have the same feeling of remoteness.
There is a connection in your book with the Spanish Civil War. Was there any involvement by any member of your family or some acquaintance from long ago?
No, but have always had a strong interest in this conflict. I’ve studied extensively what was later to become regarded as a smaller dress rehearsal for World War II. Tracked’s plot has the characters being drawn back into the dark history of the Spanish conflict.
One of your main characters is a tough Vietnam vet, Paxton. Do you see any of yourself in that character?
No. I have only had a brief flirtation with the armed services. It didn’t take long for me to realise that the army was not what I wanted and I’m sure the army quickly came to the conclusion that I was not what they wanted. That realised, we went our separate ways.
Is the Australian Outback in fact littered with abandoned mines (iron, silver, lead) ?
There are (or were) many abandoned workings throughout the Outback. They are like untidy graveyards scattered among the brush and sand.
Can we look forward to a sequel or perhaps a prequel to Tracked:An Outback Mystery?
I’d love to sit down and go through the same exercise of writing a long novel, but there’s something scary about the thought of more of those endless days spent in solitude, scribbling away with a keyboard. I’ll see how Tracked fares out in the big world and then maybe make up my mind.
You can learn more about the author and travels at RoadworkINK