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Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw

Chris was born in Felixstowe in the UK in 1939. For six years he and his mother survived under an umbrella of bombs and other sundry explosives akin to Desert Storm in downtown Baghdad. Occasional time-outs were taken at his grandparent's farm in central Norfolk, an environment he learned to love.

A scholarship to Framlingham College, a public school, (called a 'private school' everywhere else in the world), that gave him access to a huge array of study subjects, sports and pastimes. His academic reports were always of the 'could do better' variety, but no one ever told him how. He played almost all the sports known to man, including 'fives'! His only real achievements came as violinist and school orchestra leader, who had the Bruch and Mendelssohn Concertos under his belt at sixteen. Added to that was his ability to shoot straight, which earned him the School Shooting Colours. Not a well-defined career path, you might say - 'Orchestral Assassin', perhaps?

Boots the Chemist in Ipswich, Suffolk, awarded him an apprenticeship, which lead to his becoming a pharmacist in 1962. He became a Medical Representative in northwest London, which he hated because of its lack of meadows and woodland.

In 1965, he was appointed Area Representative for an international pharmaceutical company, in the Caribbean. He was based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and for seven years travelled the Commonwealth islands. It was a hedonistic and maturing journey that taught him many things, including, to never drink rum, ever, how to dance like a West Indian, and how to rub shoulders with people from every walk of life.

He married Anita in Port of Spain and they emigrated to Australia, destination Cairns; a land of beautiful rainforests, tropical heat and sugar cane. It was the Caribbean without the steel bands, the dancing and the rum.

The building of his new life began with the purchase of two acres of land and building a highset house among the treetops ‐ the elevation a necessity in an area renowned for its monsoonal rains. There was a continual array of birds and bats for company &dash absolute paradise for a rural East Anglian.

He was appointed manager of the Cairns After Hours Pharmacy for twelve months. Chris then bought into a very busy pharmacy, which delighted in the name of Wallamurra, or 'witch-doctor', in one aboriginal dialect. To further expand his crippling debt, he built his own pharmacy at a beach suburb in 1984, which he pioneered literally from the ground up, delighting in the role of 'tradesmen's assistant'.

Seven years later the wheels fell off his marriage and his budding mini-empire. The defeat of divorce turned into the victory for hope when he met Rebecca. They built their relationship by exchanging a huge amount of words, tolerance and understanding. This was so successful that they became known as 'the bookends'. Chris's children, Shean and Tanith, have weathered this storm and appear no less able to communicate and love than anyone else.

His writing sparked into existence when he and Rebecca spent 2001-2002 in UK, with Chris working as a locum pharmacist around the country. They travelled 18,000 miles (nearly 30,000km) in an elegant 'old banger' called 'The Duchess'. They saw many wonderful historical sites and spent quality time with Chris's elderly parents of 95 and 93!

However, the stress of different working environments and accommodation changes on a weekly basis was such that Chris started writing e-mail newsletters to friends in Australia. These, when amalgamated on their return, produced a document of 40,000 words! Consider! When this is taken in the context of his use of large-font addresses on postcards to avoid the need for inventing content, was a remarkable feat for him.

'Loose Chippings' became his first book, appraised as '4/10 for an mature version of "What I did on my summer holiday!"' He had four copies self-published.

It's All Relative

His second book was of eighteen short stories based on some of his varied background. Stylistically, they incorporating that great Australian adage: 'never, ever, let the truth stand in the way of a good story!'

This was his apprenticeship piece, which needed learning about ISBN's, CIP's, galleys, formatting, fonts and bindings; the glossary of terms associated with writing. He even employed a professional actor, to read the stories, and a sound engineer to produce a double CD. The money spent on this 'flight of fancy' is, in the property world, known as 'massive over-capitalisation!' However, it was done to his specifications, with all his mistakes on display, but he was inordinately proud of it, much like the mother of an ugly baby.

During the next year, he wrote a 100,000-word novel about love and violence around WW1, based on his deep-seated love of Norfolk and its farming community. Wiser heads told him it had to be re-written, after he had gained at least some understanding of plot construction, time-lines, character development and dialogue. He definitely needed a practical reality check.

Meanwhile, using the experience of his divorce and re-marriage to Rebecca, bearing in mind that in their twenty year love affair they had not had so much as a cross word, he wrote, 'Hey, Guys! Here's How You Get More "Nooky"!'

'As a title, it was the biggest carrot I could find to encourage blokes to read it,' he said. 'The book is short and the reading is light but contains enough information for blokes to understand what their partners need from them in a serious relationship, why they need it and how to supply it.'

Chris has learnt, 'now, the hard work begins,' meaning editing and publishing, promotion, marketing and public speaking to manipulate the general public into buying millions of his books, allowing him to rub shoulders with J K Rowling and Dan Brown. Chris, ever the dreamer!

He joined 'Book Creators Circle', a diverse group of many disciplines who encourage and help, in practical ways, those who choose to write. Their reach is international and their support to Chris has been outstanding.

The learning and the writing go on, and will, until the heat, the viruses, the booze or Pratchett's version of 'Death' come to collect him. He wouldn't have it any other way, provided, of course, his beloved Rebecca is beside him.

Links to his books in store:

email: cjrcshaw@bigpond.com