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Author Ben Hobson reveals secrets on Snake Island book


GRIPPING READ: Yarram born author, Ben Hobson has just released his Gippsland inspired fiction novel, Snake Island.

DESPITE relocating to North Brisbane some years ago, author Ben Hobson’s heart remains in Gippsland. 

The Yarram born writer’s latest fiction work, Snake Island, is a culmination of places and events he fondly remembers from his first 15 years in the area.

But due to the nature of the book – a dark thriller that tackles the topic of family violence and the bonds of blood – Mr Hobson has changed place names.

“If a person from Yarram where to read the book they would recognise the places,” he said.

When asked for an example, Mr Hobson revealed one name change.

“Flynne’s Drapery in the book is actually Wynnes Drapery (now Davis Manner),” he said.

In a starkly beautiful Australian setting, Snake Island follows Vernon and Penelope Moore’s journey after they learn their son, Caleb, is getting time behind bars for physically abusing his wife.

At first they want nothing to do with him, but when Vernon hears that his son is being frequently and savagely bashed by a local criminal as the police stand by, he knows he has to act.

Mr Hobson said being a dad naturally raises some of the questions posed in his latest gripping read, such as how a lifetime of careful parental love can be wiped out in a moment and how to deal with that.

 “I thought a small town would be a good setting for that and there are some great details to Yarram as well,” Mr Hobson said.

One of those details includes Won Wron prison’s tongue-in-cheek fun run named Prisoners on the Run.

Prisoners were allowed to run for charity once a year, but inevitably escape attempts were made.

“For three decades they held the event,” Mr Hobson laughed at the ludicrous notion.

“That event has made it into the book.”

The novel also explores gender roles and prejudices against the backdrop of the 1980s.
“The main police sergeant in the town is a woman and a lot of the time her authority gets undercut because of her gender – it’s about facing up to that type of prejudice,” Mr Hobson said.

“I think a lot of women in crime books can be victims, so I also wanted to make a more complicated character.”

When asked if he was a full time writer, Mr Hobson chuckled, jokingly replying, “I’d love to do it full time, so if everyone in Gippsland could buy one copy of the book that would be great!”

The long-time high school teacher said he is in the early stages of his next book project, but was eager to take a break first.

 

Grace Griffith 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29803

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