Paul Greenway

Pasir Putih, Eastern Bali

Bali & Oates

Bali & Oates

Like many, I’ve always dreamt of writing a book, but been lucky enough to get mine published by JoJo Publishing, based in Melbourne. Bali & Oates is available through:

a) Amazon as a hard copy or ebook through Kindle

b) Booktopia as a hard copy

c) Woodslane (the distributor) as hard copy

The Idea

Ideas for the book germinated while living in Jakarta from 2008 to 2010. It seemed to take over my life: I thought of little else, waking in the middle of the night when the best dialog entered my mind and writing snippets of plots on napkins and notepads. The little people in my brain had taken over, so I returned home to Adelaide in South Australia. This was the right decision, because I quickly realised that writing, redrafting, editing and sending books to publishers is a full-time job.

I read books about writing books, and then wrote and rewrote eight drafts. Deleting about 30,000 words from an early draft was painful, but a breeze compared to finding a publisher. But then in 2012, on Boxing Day (my birthday, as it happens), I was first contacted by JoJo.

This book is deliberately based in Bali, a place I have studied in, travelled around and written guidebooks about, and which is visited by some four million tourists (and potential readers) a year. Bali & Oates also incorporates my background as an officer for ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) and as a writer for Lonely Planet guidebooks. Unashamedly, it also includes things I love, such as football and music.

As a political satire, the genre suits my middle-aged grumpiness and distaste for politics and the excesses of public servants, diplomats and intelligence/police officers. But as explained in the introduction: No characters in this book are based on any person that I know, know of or have met ... I intend absolutely no malice or offence to any Australian or Indonesian person.

The plot

So, what is Bali & Oates all about? I’m not totally sure myself, but the blurb on the back cover may give you some idea.

The Prime Minister wants to snorkel in Bali with the tasty new ‘Minister of Sustain-Novation and In-Ability’, but his maniacal Private Secretary reminds him that the purpose of the visit is to sign the Bali Oil & Gas Access Negotiations (BOGAN) agreement.

Meanwhile, the Australian Consul on Bali, Samantha Oates, is warned by Australia's top intelligence and police agencies that the PM's visit is under threat from Balinese terrorist groups. Her dismay is compounded by the sudden disappearance of her second-in-charge, Ryan 'Bloody' Blake, who is responsible for organising the visit.

The terrorists lead Australia's finest diplomats, politicians and spies on wild goose chases around the temples, golf courses and art galleries of Bali before the farce is finally exposed by Samantha, with the masterful assistance of a 60-year-old, digital-whiz Granny Geek, and a schoolgirl on work experience.

Written in a satirical vein similar to Ben Elton by a former intelligence officer and author for Lonely Planet guidebooks, this racy and engaging action-comedy-political-satire is based almost entirely in Bali. The Oates Trilogy continues in Vietnam and Malaysia.

While waiting about 18 months for publishers to consider this book, I took a gamble and wrote the second of the trilogy called Vietnamnesia and third and final, Afghans & Malaise. At the very least, I had great fun researching for two months at a time in Vietnam and Malaysia. Vietnamnesia is self-published through Amazon and I am redrafting Afghans & Malaise.


The first review is an accurate and insightful piece written by Haydn Radford, a freelance writer and blogger based in Adelaide:





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