Greg Mutton's journey into writing novels certainly wasn't a quick one.
The former Maitland man had tinkered with writing for the best part of 30 years but it was only when he retired that his wife urged him to take it up seriously because "she didn't want a bored, grumpy husband on her hands".
Fast forward five years and Mutton, 66, has written seven novels, all self published. And there are half written ones on the go too. By any standard, he churns them out.
"I've always thought if I'm hitting a road block with one story, I'll go and write another," he said. "So I will have a number of books on the go at any one time."
The book critic would describe Mutton's works as science fiction, but it's not a pigeon hole he's particularly comfortable with.
"I don't have flesh eating zombies or superheroes with magical powers ... I like stories where average, normal people are thrust into situations they didn't ask for," he explained. "Stories where people like you and me are forced to act and rise to the challenge. So if I'm asked I just say I write about people because I think in the end the human race will win out."
Mutton's retirement came after complications arose following right eye surgery and he's wearing an eye patch.
"It's a long story ... I could show you but it's not pretty," he said. "In the end it meant I couldn't do my job properly any more, so I retired."
With multiple story lines on the go, it's no surprise he's constantly thinking scenes, storylines and images that he files away mentally for future use.
"Sometimes I'll have a dream or a nightmare and if I really like it, I'll get up in the middle of the night and jot it down and put it away in my drawer," he said. "Something I like for one story will occasionally finish up in another story instead."
Mutton has been sounded out by publishers but is more comfortable doing it all himself. At the same time he's happy to take direction from those he respects.
"My first book I sent off to an editor friend and it was way too long, so we turned it into a trilogy - Chronicle of the 12th Realm. So I'm open to constructive criticism."
Mutton will be at Harry Hartog book store at Green Hills for a book launch and signing on Saturday, March 14 from 10am to 11am.
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