Maclean author's TV saga deal

THE Clarence Valley will soon have a Hollywood connection to its name with Maclean author Peter Watt’s Macintosh/Duffy saga of novels destined for a major mini-series adaptation.

The author is also on the verge of releasing the sixth book in the series, To Ride the Wind, and said he was ecstatic about the mini-series deal.

“It’s great; one thing I look at is that it’s foreign money coming to Australia to pump into our economy in making the series because it will be filmed here,” Mr Watt said.

“It’s shaping up to be one of the only TV mini-series made in Australia that will be seen around the world.

“It’s kind of nice to think when the TV mini-series comes out, it’ll feature Australia, our culture and our history, which hasn’t really been done before.”

Mr Watt was unable to reveal many more details about the series due to his agreement with the producers, but said an announcement would be made soon.

The book series, which has included Cry of the Curlew, Flight of the Eagle, Shadow of the Osprey, To Chase the Storm and To Touch the Clouds, follows two families of Australians, The Duffys and the Macintoshes, across generations from the Australian frontier days in the 1860s onwards.

The latest instalment follows the fates of these two families through the period of World War I between 1916 and 1918.

Mr Watt said he had drawn inspiration for the series from the author Wilbur Smith.

“I used to read a lot of Wilbur Smith and learned so much about Africa through his books,” he said.

“He wrote to entertain, but at the same time he educated the reader about the history and culture of another country and I always thought, ‘if he can do that for one part of the world, maybe I can do that for Australia’.”

Mr Watt said although he had a loyal following of Australian readers, his books attracted particular interest from readers overseas.

“I get emails from people overseas saying ‘we didn’t really know about Australia until we read your books’, unfortunately for us we’re very unknown to the rest of the world,” he said.

“I even got an email once from a gentleman in Switzerland saying he didn’t know Australia had been involved in the Second World War until now.”

Mr Watt said he would launch his latest entry in the series at the Maclean Services Club on October 31 at 2pm.

“We usually have live music and entertainment, plenty of finger food, drinks,” Mr Watt said.

“The whole thing is free to the public, too, so anyone can wander in through the doors.”

Mr Watt said there would also be raffles in support of the Maclean Hospital Auxiliary on the day and people attending would get a chance to see the early trailer for the mini-series.

Mr Watt, a former soldier, private investigator and police sergeant (among many other things), moved to Maclean four years ago on the advice of his brother-in-law who had once yachted up the Clarence River.

He said since moving here he had fallen in love with Maclean and the whole Clarence Valley area.

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