City Beach resident Martin Chambers said he is ecstatic to receive a book contract from Fremantle Press after coming runner-up for the T.A.G. Hungerford award.
Mr Chambers’ thriller, How I became the Mr Big of People Smuggling, captured the attention of Fremantle Press publisher Georgia Richter who signed the author just before Easter.
Mr Chambers said the T.A.G. Hungerford competition was one of the few opportunities unpublished writers had to get noticed.
‘It is just fantastic and a real breakthrough to get my first contract,’ he said.
’I was quietly confident in my manuscript and hopeful that it would do well.
‘But I have been confident entering competitions before and I haven’t done as well as I would have liked, so you just never know.’
Mr Chambers said he was really looking forward to working with the publishers at Fremantle Press.
‘Even though I had been working on this manuscript for two years I knew it wasn’t perfect when I submitted it,’ he said.
‘I am really looking forward to getting some feedback from the publishers and turning it into a polished piece.’
How I became the Mr Big of People Smuggling is about a young boy who leaves school to work on a station in the Northern Territory only to discover the station’s real business as a people smuggling racket.
Mr Chambers said the story all came together after a first-hand experience with people smuggling.
‘In 2011 when people smuggling was becoming a big issue I was sailing through parts of Indonesia and while in the capital of West Timor, Kupang, I was approached by people wanting to be smuggled into Australia.’
Mr Chambers said this experience along with motivation from his father inspired him to write the story.
‘My father was a friend of Tom Hungerford and he used to write with him a lot. He always said he would write a book but he never did. So when I sold my business and retired, I thought I should write a book,’ he said.
The T.A.G. Hungerford Award is presented biennially to a Western Australian writer who has not previously been published in book form. The 2012 T.A.G. Hungerford Award was presented with the support of the Friends and Family of the late Bill Warnock in partnership with writingWA, Fremantle Press, and West Australian Newspapers.
Winners receive a cash prize as well as publication of the winning manuscript with Fremantle Press.