Former school Principal and now author John Davies tells peter lyne about his published book….
Retired primary school principal, John Davies has been surrounded by children all his working life, and since joining the retirement ranks he is continuing his association with the junior population in another direction.
During his life, John has spent much of his spare time as a musician, poet and writing children’s school musicals. He has now fulfilled his dream of writing a children’s book titled, ‘The Markwell Manor Mystery: A D J Benson Adventure’.
Now settled in Failford with his wife Jill, he made the move from Sydney after having no hesitation in accepting an offer to become the Forster Primary school principal in 2004.
“I have been visiting and holidaying in the Forster-Tuncurry region for most of my life. Being in education for 40 plus years, it was the ideal appointment to end my career and stay, as we love the area.
“It was like coming home when the Forster appointment became available.”
Starting his teaching career at a one teacher school in the Wauchope area, he was then appointed to another one teacher school in the Wingham region before he decided to head to the Sydney Metropolitan area to enhance his career.
His love of teaching was combined with music in his teens, and he became a member of the band the Port Side Four, playing ‘60s music for several years.
This background helped him write his first musical in 1973, which was performed by his pupils and comprised rewritten lyrics of many popular songs of the day.
“I loved that side of the arts. It has helped pen about 50 original songs and scores of poems over the years. It is something I simply love.”
John is not new to the publishing world – he has had some works published in such publications as the Taree Scribblers, of which he is a member.
His first solo book has many touches of his experiences during his teaching years, with his main character, D J Benson, an 11 year-old named after one of his former pupils Danny Benson (who was nicknamed DJ).
“Teaching and being involved with pupils at all levels has given me many experiences, which I have found I can relate to when writing these books.”
The Markwell Manor Mystery is the story of a mansion named after a 19th century sea captain Thelonious Markwell. A family based in the country inherits the mansion in Sydney from their Uncle Clive with a few extra residents … ghosts!
Through the inquisitive nature of D J Benson, an intriguing adventure begins, based on having one foot in realism and the other in fantasy.
The story has a plot that has many twists and turns, keeping the younger readers enthralled.
John believes his book fills a gap in children’s literature, that maintains a setting in the real world and with real kids.
“There is a gap for well written literature for pre-teen boys; girls are well catered for – just look around the book shops and department stores.”
He’s aiming to have five books in the series and is hoping they will be added to primary school libraries.
Currently, he is in Beijing at a Book Fair, at the invitation of his publisher.
“The Chinese are keen to buy books in English to educate their young; it is part of their education revolution, so I am hoping the book will be accepted in that market.”
The Markwell Manor Mystery is a good read and is full of intrigue for young readers, with plenty of thrilling and sometimes chilling plots.
The book is available from Angus and Robertson at Taree and Forster and Books and Beans in Gloucester.