Author Interview with Greg Kater

Greg Kater Author Interview|Image2

Hi, Greg Kater, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website.

Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.

My name is Greg Kater and I am a 79-year-old Australian. In fact, I am seventh generation Australian, my ancestors having sailed out from England in the early 1800’s. I spent my school years at a boarding school in Sydney, usually working in the holidays on the family sheep and cattle property, 500 kilometres west of Sydney. I am now living in Sanctuary Cove on the beautiful Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia.

After 4 years at the University of Sydney, I graduated in 1960 in Advanced Geology and Geophysics. After that, I spent the next nine years working in the mining industry, mainly in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia as well as some work in Malaysia and Indonesia. From 1969 to 1980, I managed a significant mining company in the Philippines and subsequently set up a mining consultant office in Sydney. From there I travelled all over the world consulting to many mining companies until my retirement from the mineral industry three years ago.

I have been married for 58 years and have four children and six grandchildren. Amongst all the work, I was sometimes able to take my wife with me to interesting places, off the beaten track, varying from Australian desert and bush country, to parts of the USA, South East Asia and several provinces of China.

When did you start writing and why?

Prior to my retirement, three years ago, my only writing comprised hundreds of technical reports and contributions to mining journals. After retirement, I began to think of my experiences during my career and the many and varied people I had worked with over the years. From there, I thought it might be fun to write fictional novels based on these unique people, but where to start?

One thing I had in my possession were my father’s notes on his battles in the World War II Syrian campaign in the early part of the Middle East fighting. I thought, that would be a good start. I would set all my novels as historical fiction with the time setting based on that part of the war and the aftermath of war as it effected my characters.

It was fun to remember characters I had worked with (I obviously changed their names). However, much research was necessary to make sure the events occurring as a background to the story were accurate.

Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?

I don’t really have a favorite book amongst the three which have so far been published. They all contain the same principal characters but with different countries involved. Those countries are all known intimately by me and I followed the same formula of basing everyone on people I knew and worked with. 

How did you come up with the title for your book?

My first five years after graduation were spent working for the Peko Mining company at Tennant Creek in the central part of the Northern Territory. In those days the police force comprised local aborigines, the Warramungas. Their tracking ability and other skills were amazing, and crime almost never went undetected around Tennant Creek in those days. The Warramungas were also famous throughout the Territory for their spectacular corroborees. I decided that one of my main characters would be a half aborigine soldier thus leading to the title “The Warramunga’s War”.

Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?

The final design of the cover, for The Warramunga’s War, was completed by Clive Dalkins of Zeus Publications after discussion with me. The same for the next two books.

What are some of the themes of your story?

Apart from War, the themes throughout my books are friendship, mystery, crime investigation, adventure, romance, history and dramatic scenic places.

What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?

Once I have decided what my book will be about, I conduct a great deal of research before I write anything. I add that, in my mind, to the experiences I have had at working in and visiting all those places.

Once I start writing the story, I set myself to write at least 500 words a day. Sometimes up to 1000 words a day. This gives me time to check the action against actual historical events and not get ahead of myself.

Who are some of your favorite characters and why?

My favorite characters are Jamie and Jacko as well as Jacko’s little half-sister, Sarah, a full-blood Warramunga aborigine. I gave a great deal of thought in developing their characters. Many of the other characters, as I have mentioned before, are based on people I have known and worked with; for this reason, they are also favorites of mine.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Authors, such as Patrick O”Brian and Alexander Kent, leave me awestruck with the extent and accuracy of their historical research. Apart from them I have many favorite authors: Jane Austen, Boris Pasternak, Grantlee Kieza, Will Davies, Martin O’Brien and many others. I also have all the old Australian Classics such as Robbery Under Arms, We of the Never Never, etc.

Have you got anything you’re working on now?

I have just finished writing a new novel, Conflict on the Yangtze. No prizes for guessing where that novel is set. Many of my friends urged me to not let Jamie, Jacko and Sarah, just fade away, so I have extended the trilogy to this fourth novel. The process of publication will begin in early 2019 and the novel will probably be released in February. I am gathering research for a possible fifth novel in the aftermath of war set around the Burma-Thai border, but haven’t started writing anything yet.  

If you could have any super powers what would they be?

Super powers!!?! When we were young, we all dreamt of being Superman but I haven’t thought of that for a long while. If I were Superman, I could make it very uncomfortable for all the horrible little dictators around the world who keep their people in poverty while they pile aid money into their Swiss bank accounts.

If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?

I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant, but I’m trying to think of locations where I haven’t been. I’ve been to all the great cities of the world and raced in yachts over many seas. I’ve worked in extreme cold (northern Siberia, Alaska, Saskatchewan) and most of the hottest places on earth. I think I’d like to stay right here on the Gold Coast from now on.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?

Still very much alive and living here on the Gold Coast.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview, Greg Kater! Take a minute and check Greg Kater out on the links below!

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Author Greg Kater

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