…it’s hard work.
Keeping it going is the trick, lot’s of distractions with family, work and friends maybe, maybe not, but it’s not just a case of throw it all out on a page.You need to craft your work, even if you don’t want the book to be ‘formal’ writing or to look like it is completely natural, formless writing, you have to have a plan and stick to the discipline of writing so much every day.
It takes money, resources and time
You have to commit to the project.Once you’re into it, it has to have a priority and a place.It will cost in terms of money and also opportunity, as you could well be doing other things obviously.Make sure family and friends are with you or at the very least are aware of your project, you might end up seeming like a big grouch if they think you’re just using ‘the book’ as an excuse to avoid them!
- Can you give us a short synopsis of your book?
This book is my recollection and description of my experiences, based on my memories of sights, sounds and events.
There were a number of Australian Service Contingent (ASC) rotations through Somalia, all of whom deserve our nation’s highest praise, respect and recognition for their service.
Arriving in the Country from the end of October, 1992, UNOSOM was primarily a monitoring group and did not have the resources to establish stability in the country or even protect food distribution.
Most of the supplies the aid agencies had flown into Somalia could not be distributed and few ships were able or willing to enter Mogadishu harbour. The food shortage became a famine in which about 300,000 people died.
The Movement Control Unit (MCU) remained in Somalia with UNOSOM II and was joined by a group of Air Traffic Controllers.
UNOSOM IIs nation building mandate brought it into conflict with the militia leader Mohamed Farah Aidid.
In October the situation further deteriorated after a team of US Army Rangers and Delta Force unsuccessfully tried to remove Aidid from power.
This was a well-publicised and embarrassing defeat and many countries subsequently began to withdraw their national Contingents from UNOSOM II.
The Australians, however, stayed.
After suffering significant casualties and unable to restore order or peace, the last UN troops were withdrawn from Somalia in March 1995.
- What inspired you to write this book?
So, what makes you write a book about your experiences 20 plus years after the event? To paraphrase Lemony Snickett, it was a series of fortunate events…and encouragement by family and friends, but also a sense of needing to record for future generations and in particular those who are most at risk of being sent into harm’s way some form of narrative of the experience of war, maybe to help some to understand, some to make judgements and some to make decisions. Having been asked many times about the experiences, despite the natural reticence and humility of being nothing particularly special, having verbalised the story and worked it through ‘mentally’, it was a story which was crafted in my mind many times. So many times people said, ‘wow, that’s great stuff, really interesting, you should write a book!’, yeah, and to myself I said, ‘like who cares, so much going on and bigger and better people than I have things to say’… but waiting for a trigger as it were. That came with meeting a small boy, who was about 3 years old at the time. A beautiful child, with a potentially fatal disability, young Kai came into our lives through my son’s partner. The incredible almost eerie coincidence to my mind was his name…how was it he has the same name as that of a young man I met briefly in Somalia, but who was sadly killed there. Somehow, for some reason, I thought there is a connection here. Young Kai is an incredibly resilient little man, having overcome so many challenges and issues to get where he is. I thought, along with all the other reasons for writing a book, this is it, here is the calling…write the book, help to support his future, make a difference somehow…and so it was and so we are doing!
- How many hours per day do you spend on writing
Varies, no daily allocation, when I wasn’t working sometimes up to ten hours a day, then back to 1-2 hours, write in ‘bursts’ after long periods of cogitation of ideas and getting the story line straight in your own head first…build up the
Title: Not A Real War
Author: Paul Longley
Genre: Military / Historical / Biography
This book describes the experiences of the author whilst serving with the Australian Defence Force with the United Nations Mission to Somalia in 1993.
The author is a former Royal Australian Navy officer
Author Website: http://notarealwar.com/