Some Light read­ing

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Jaime Shurmer

COMO self-pub­lished au­thor Dave God­dard has just re­leased his lat­est novel, Turn on a Light, about nine Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren who mys­te­ri­ously die at the site of a for­mer gold-min­ing town.

COMO au­thor Dave God­dard re­cently made the leap from teacher and re­searcher to nov­el­ist, self­pub­lish­ing three books in three years.

The lat­est publi­ca­tion hit the stands a cou­ple of weeks ago, ti­tled Turn on a Light.

It fea­tures nine Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren un­der the age of five who mys­te­ri­ously die in a small com­mu­nity on the site of a for­mer gold-min­ing town.

This statis­tic seemed to bother only the Catholic mis­sion­ar­ies who sup­ported the com­mu­nity.

Rob­bie Fair­fax, a road-train driver turned teacher, walks into the eye of a po­lit­i­cal storm when his ef­forts in 1974 to un­cover the cause of these deaths put him at odds with the gov­ern­ment, re­gional Catholics, lo­cal me­dia and his ed­u­ca­tion su­pe­ri­ors.

All three of God­dard’s books take snip­pets of his own back­ground as a teacher in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties and trans­poses these ex­pe­ri­ences into dif­fer­ent decades and places across WA.

The value of his work to build un­der­stand­ing be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple is ap­par­ent now per­haps more than ever, in light of the Royal Com­mis­sion in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment in the US.

God­dard es­tab­lished pub­lish­ing com­pany Pic­cadilly Press for his lat­est book, and runs a change man­age­ment busi­ness heav­ily re­liant on a “Walk To­gether” model.

“The fear that peo­ple have is a fear cre­ated by dif­fer­ence but un­der­neath they are the same as you; they may have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties,” he said, us­ing the ex­am­ple of fam­ily trump­ing school if there is an ur­gent need in an Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity.

His first book, Hid­ing Place, is set in the fu­ture – in 2017 – and is about a fic­ti­tious riot in Alice Springs.

God­dard re­alised his fo­cus on re­search was con­strain­ing his de­sire for flair when his PhD su­per­vi­sor said he was not a “nor­mal” PhD stu­dent.

He set out to write Life on a Fer­ris Wheel, which has still not been pub­lished be­cause it was per­haps too close to home, and could iden­tify too many peo­ple.

Vignettes of this book have been pub­lished as short sto­ries on his web­site.

The God­dard fam­ily is not short on cre­ativ­ity, with wife Karen work­ing closely with Dave to edit the books. Her cousin men­tored God­dard as he made the tran­si­tion to au­thor.

Mrs God­dard op­er­ates a speech and drama school from their home, their son Drew is a gui­tarist for Perth band Kar­nivool and son Paul is an ac­tor and voice-over spe­cial­ist.

Copies of Turn on a Light are avail­able from The Well in Applecross, The Mill­point Caffe Book­shop in South Perth, and Loose Pro­duce in Como. Visit eBooks are avail­able through Ama­zon.­mu­ni­ d457359

Au­thor Dave God­dard with his wife Karen. Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

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