Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bulk Goon

"One of the best books we've read this year" - Rotto Bloggo.

(And we've read a few).

See this scoop that was in POST Newspapers last week...

A year 12 student plans to import hundreds of cartons of alcohol to Rottnest Island during leavers' week.

The teenager, whose name is Bree, expects to make a big profit from her business.

“There's gunna be bulk goon everywhere,” she said.

Her boyfriend admired her entrepreneurial skills.

“In business, breaking the law and getting away with it is considered excellence,” he said...

The above is how a report about Bree and Simon might read if it was in the POST.

But the two youngsters are main characters in City Beach author Martin Chamber's latest novel.

Bulk Goon is set on Rottnest during leavers and Martin says it has wide appeal.

“It's a great holiday read for anybody who has teenage kids, who is a teenage kid, or anybody who loves Rottnest,” he said.

Goon is slang for alcohol: Bree and Simon plan to get nearly 350 cartons of TED – Tooheys Extra Dry – and other beverages to thirsty year 12s who want to have fun both in the sun and after dark.

“I'm 53 and went to Wesley,” Martin said.

“Leavers was never a big thing in my day.

“You left school, nothing happened and then you got a part-time job.”

Martin's two daughters did leavers, though: it was a concern.

“I remember being absolutely terrified at the time,” he said.

“I was thinking about booking a holiday to Alaska and taking them far away from any trouble.

“But then I talked with other parents and realised there is paranoia about leavers and it gets blown up by the media.”

Some characters in Bulk Goon express the same view.

The fiction has a perceptive and sympathetic portrayal of police on Rottnest, especially the senior sergeant in charge of law enforcement on the island.

“Lots could go wrong during leavers,” the officer reflects, “but children were more likely to die from skin cancer or falling off a bike than anything else.”

Martin said it was important to have real names in the book to help set the story's realism.

“I have used the real names of schools but that is where the fact ends and the fiction begins,” he said.

“In no way am I implying anything in the character of the schools mentioned or that the schools themselves are in any way involved.”

Writing the 30,000 word novel took Martin about 12 months.

“I started it about two years ago,” he said.

“I find things are best with writing if you forget about it for a year, come back to it and polish it.”

Bulk Goon already has its fans and detractors.

“Just like a training manual with a story,” a year 11 student says, “every school leaver should get a copy.

But a parent says: “This book ought to be banned.”

Martin is not aiming to retire to Thomson Bay on sales.

“My kayaking guide gets about $30 a year in royalties,” he said.

“Bulk Goon is a very local story.”

Bulk Goon costs $14.95 from or the Well Bookshop in Shenton park, the Lane in Claremont, the Rottnest general store, and the Chart and Map Shop in Fremantle.

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