My hometown radio station heard about me writing my noveI The Ozone Cafe. What luck! As a follow up program by Lance Godwin who does maritime history aka his interest in Phil Jeffs (a notorious gangster) who build the cafe back in the thirties. He interviewed me on Saturday,17th April 2021. The Coast FM 96.3 Interview will air on Tuesday 20th April on 8.40am Perth time & 10.40am EST, Sydney. The following was my preparation for his questions which did not turn out the same, so I will post the actual interview at a later date,
Introduction and very briefly tell us about your previous book The Last Asbestos Town.
It’s actually the second book that I’ve written. It’s about a young married couple May & Isaac who move to a mining town in the South West, where they purchase an old Girl Guide hall that they plan to renovate. The setting is a time in the near future when the government is forcibly eradicating the last of the nation’s asbestos structures. When they receive their fateful letter, and believing the hall is not asbestos they set out on a quest to save their home from destruction.
You grew up in Ettalong and visited the Ozone Cafe built by notorious gangster Phil Jeffs. What was it like? (I will prompt you if I want more detail)
The Ozone was well known for its great milkshakes. I used to visit the café with my friend usually after a swim at Ettalong Beach. We would play the jukebox or one of the pinball machines and of course have a milkshake. We were in our early teens, and the bodgies and widgies who were there were quite intimidating. They were there for hours playing pool. Somehow the café had a bad reputation and I’m not sure why. No one spoke about Phil Jeffs in my family even though my grandparents were there in the forties. I guess it was all hush-hush about its notorious owner.
Your new book is a fictitious account of a cafe which you called the Ozone. Without giving too much away, what inspired you to write this book?
I had many trips back home to Ettalong over the years to visit family etc. On a later visit to my younger brother in Kariong, he told me that the Ozone had disappeared from the landscape. So this sparked the idea to write a novel about the memories I had of the café’s life. I didn’t want to just let it go and there be no record of it ever existing. On another trip I met up with Kay Williams from the Pearl Beach Historical Society (I wrote a poem about Pearl Beach and it was exhibited in the previous year). She told me about major changes that were going to be made in the area (which she objected to) and this is when I knew I had the plot for the novel.
When can our listeners get to read the book?
It’s going to be published in the US in October, and hopefully, will be available as an ebook (Kindle copy) on Amazon Australia. It may take 6-8 weeks after that when I receive my stock of books (the hard copies). Depending on the response I get for the book, I would like to visit Ettalong and perhaps give a short reading in the Gosford or Woy Woy Libraries. Below are some images of Ettalong (from one of my home visits). Broken Bay with Lion Island, a view of the bay from Blackwall Mountain and my childhood general store called Mannings, very much changed.