I first wrote "Coasting" in 1972 as an experiment to see if I could write novel-length fiction and wrote ten drafts between 1972 and 1976. All were typed on a cheap portable typenwriter perched on my knees whilst on watch in the engine rooms of ships very similar to those in the story. By 1976, I'd investigated life as a writer in Australia and decided it could not meet my financial obligations to a nervus wife and three school age children and the ten drafts, each in its individual lever arch file, were stored in the top of our wardrobe and I concentrated on a challenging and financially rewarding career that led me to a senior position in the offshore oil industry.
In the early 1990s, my eldest daughter discovered the en drafts and read them all in an excess of filial devotion. From that moment on, she was determined that "Coasting" should be published (perhaps because she saw something of herself in the heroine).
In 1997 I retired, having written only as a relaxation from a 24/7 career and turned once more to writing, winning two national competitions and a five book contract from a small Australian publisher of category romance paperbacks. She insisted that I write under a female pseudoym and Amy Gallow was fborn from my wife's middle name and her maiden surname.
Twelve months ago, my eldest daughter convinced me it was time to take "Coasting" down from its hiding place. Four drafts later, Eternal Press accepted it for publication and its forty year voyage was over.
This is a short excerpt to whet your appetite:
Doug’s mind wandered. His snatches of sleep since the boiler failed were not enough and tiredness was a leaden weight on his shoulders. He'd husbanded the others as much as he could but there’d always been something urgent he had to do immediately.
Things had steadied now. Around him, everyone did their jobs and his focus drifted. It would be tempting to find a seat somewhere and sit for a while.
He reacted slowly to Taff’s sudden movement and incoherent shout. It was not till the man’s hand closed on the live bar that he shouted, “No, Taff, don’t!”
It was too late. The alternating current constricted the tendons and Taff’s hand locked itself around the bar. He gave a weird wavering wail and appeared to dance a jig about the bar. Doug caught the whiff of burning flesh and it galvanized him into action. He took two running steps and swung his right foot in a mighty kick to break Taff’s deadly grip.
The jolt of the current wiped out his mind before he knew if he’d succeeded