Home » Writing Life » Featured Writers » Just Like A Son: An Exercise in Perseverance

Just Like A Son: An Exercise in Perseverance

I commenced writing ‘Just Like A Son’, a military romance adventure in 1996, after I finished my first novel ‘Fur On The Inside’. I wrote ‘Fur On The Inside’, a legal romantic thriller, while I was living in Sale VIC, on leave without pay from my position as a civilian lawyer in the Department of Defence, Canberra. Prior to that I had been a military lawyer in the RAAF from 1980 to 1989. As a lawyer I preferred writing legal briefs and affidavits to court work. After spending a year sending ‘Fur On The Inside’ to mainly Australian publishers, I decided to use the SA Writer’s assessment service, in 1997. The assessor bluntly wrote that my novel was ‘soft porn trash’. I consigned ‘Fur On The Inside’ to the bottom of the cupboard, put away the synopsis, four chapters, and considerable research I had done on ‘Just Like A Son’, and attended Adelaide University in 1998. I completed a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing under the guidance of Tom Shapcott. This was followed by an Arts Degree majoring in Literature from Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga, from 2000 to 2010. In 2009 I published my novella, also called ‘Fur On The Inside’ which is about the four mixed breed dogs I acquired, after I married in 1984.

I had my own lecturing business Shane’s Seminars from 2009 to 2010 and I co-ordinated Jamieson Jotters, a creative writing group for four years, at Point Cook, as well as conducting Literature lectures for U3A at Daylesford from 2012 to 2015. A problem with my right eye and the prospect of losing my sight, led me to cease all my volunteer activities.

I recommenced working on ‘Just Like A Son’, after I learnt about the RAAF Heritage Awards in 2015, at a book launch at the RAAF Museum. There was significant prize money and the prospect of publication. My eye had partially stabilised. After I finished the first draft, I submitted ‘Just Like A Son’ to Writers Victoria for an assessment on 26 October 2015. The assessment was positive and I incorporated a number of suggestions including how the novel was structured. After working on the novel for three years, I submitted ‘Just Like A Son’ to the RAAF Heritage Awards on 26 January and 5 February 2019. On 9 March I was advised by the contact person that my novel, had never been received and to try again in two years’ time. I was shattered but decided not to let this setback daunt me, so I sent ‘Just Like A Son’ to Penguin Australia, and was pleased to receive an acknowledgement of receipt. Three months later, I sent my novel to Olympia Publishers London, and was offered a contribution-based contract. I was not entirely happy with this so I looked at Fontaine, Balboa and Xlibris and compared the costs of publishing. I decided to proceed with Olympia because I thought they would promote my novel in England, and I liked the idea of a proper editing process.

I was very impressed with the professionalism of the proof-reading, amending and editing process, of the Production Team of Olympia. On 1 July 2019, I received advice from Publicity, to say that I had a provisional publication date of 25 July 2019 and on 26 July I received 175 copies of ‘Just Like A Son’, which included 25 ‘free’ copies. The timing of publication was unfortunate as I was in Europe from 6 August to 2 October, but I made up for lost time when I returned from overseas, by giving talks at Point Cook, Daylesford and Canberra before Christmas. As an unknown writer it helps to have friends and relatives attend your events.

‘Just Like A Son’, is about a Canberra teenager, Freddy Kitheridge, who joins the Air Force in 1953 and attends the Air Force College at Point Cook. Freddy graduates, marries his Canberra sweetheart, has a successful career as a fighter pilot, until he is involved in a flying accident near Bairnsdale, with his long-term enemy, Victor Green. While Freddy is in hospital at Sale, he is advised by his friend and mentor Alistair Churchill, that he is to face a court-martial.

The story of Freddy, his friendship with Alistair, and his conflict with Victor is fictional, but is based on extensive research. The flying scenes owe a lot to the material I obtained in 1996, from six former Telstars, a RAAF aerobatic team that operated from Sale, in the 1960s.

I have continued promoting ‘Just Like A Son’ in 2020. I have given all the money I have received from sales, to my brother Thad and my nearly 14 year-old nephew, David. Thad lost his second leg to diabetes and vascular problems on 10 September 2019. It is important to have a motive, and the main reason I persevere is because of my brother and nephew. I have started the sequel to ‘Just Like A Son’. Hopefully it will be completed in a few years, rather than 23 years.



Shane Tindal’s book, ‘Just Like a Son’, can be purchased from Olympia Publishers.



Scroll to Top