Writer Bryce Courtenay has no plans to slow down

Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:53pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters) - From being raised in an orphanage in South Africa to becoming one of Australia's most commercially successful authors, Bryce Courtenay's life sounds like the plot of a novel and he has no plans to slacken the pace.

Courtenay, 75, was in advertising until he began writing full-time in 1989 with the best-seller "The Power of One," written after one of his three sons, who had hemophilia, died aged 24 of AIDS contracted through a blood transfusion.

Since then, he has released another 17 novels with the latest, "Fishing for Stars," a sequel to last year's bestseller "The Persimmon Tree," following the adventures of Nick Duncan, a wartime sailor who is torn between two contrasting women.

Courtenay spoke to Reuters about writing and his total dismissal of retirement:

Q: Why did you opt for a sequel this time?

A: "With "The Persimmon Tree" I wanted to tell a love story. I have been terrified of telling a love story as men don't read women correctly but I thought I would attempt it. When it appeared to work and people loved the two protagonists involved I became interested and thought what would happen as they got older. I wondered if I could continue this love story. I became fascinated by these two opposite viewpoints they represent."

Q: The women are so different?

A: "Totally. I have a plunderer and an eco-terrorist on my hands. I made them fall in love with the same guy so these two are at each other and represent extreme opposite points of view."   Continued...

<p>Australian author Bryce Courtenay smiles in this photograph taken 2008 and provided to Reuters by Penguin group. REUTERS/Graham McCarter/Handout</p>