As a kid, Kevin Turnbull won a short story competition.
It was enough to spark a desire to one day write a novel.
Half a centurey later, the Caves Beach 62-year-old has realised that ambition with the release of self-published action adventure novel Dreams of Home.
“When I was in year six in primary school I won a short story competition ... pretty much ever since I thought I’d like to write a book and it’s just taken me so long over the years with travelling and growing up and families,” Turnbull said.
“One day I just sat down. It was a wet day … and I was home alone and I just grabbed a notepad and started to write a little idea I had and this is the end result.”
The novel, which also includes romance and “Aussie humour”, is set in Europe and Africa during World War 1 and revolves around two young men from Belmont and Newcastle fighting in France in 1916.
It branches out into a secret mission to save the Allied Forces from destruction.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the diggers and the old soldiers, especially in the first world war, the bravery they had and how they could actually get up and do what they were asked to do,” he said. “I always admired the bravery and the larrikinism and the mateship that they showed.”
He was also keen to include where he grew up in the book.
“It involves a lot of dreaming and every time the hero sleeps he dreams, and he dreams about sailing on the lake or sitting under the tree down there watching a storm come over, or other things and his girlfriend,” Turnbull said. “It was just different and it involved Belmont in it and I wanted Lake Macquarie in it.
“It appealed to me and I thought it might be a bit of fun to write about here … that’s basically how it started out, as a bit of fun for all my mates and family.”
Turnbull grew up at Belmont and played pretty much “any sport I could get my hands on”.
He sailed, surfed, swam at Belmont Baths, played soccer and rugby league. But he was also an avid reader.
When he started penning his idea for his book, the civil project manager did not know where it would end up.
“I started writing and I just kept going with it and I wrote the afternoon away,” he said.
“I ended up having to go down to the shops and get another notepad and before I knew it I had filled it up.
“I read it right through when I finished it and I thought, ‘That’s not a bad story’. It went from there.”
That was in 2003 and after the book “lay dormant for years” he decided to get it published.
Turnbull will have an official book launch at Swansea RSL Club on April 23 between 3pm and 6pm.
His book is available at www.kevinturnbullbooks.com.