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FROM Page 10
What: Campbell's Creek, a novel by
Michael J. Robinson
Available from: Lakes District
Museum and Paper Plus,
children. He completed an appren-
ticeship as a carpenter, went brick
laying and started working as a
builder for the Mt Cook company.
With his brother Sugar managing
Coronet Peak ski field for the
company, he also became involved
and was later a key player in the
development of the Remarkables Ski
However, that ultimately ended
badly with internal politics through-
out company management leading to
sackings and resignations.
''There was back stabbing and
infighting going on -- secret meetings
and people not talking. [The
company] was on the downhill slide
from then on,'' he said.
Afterwards Robinson returned to
work as a builder, owning his own
company and working through to
retirement. It was about this time he
started writing following a chance
meeting with a hitchhiker which
gave him the germ of a story idea.
''I thought of writing a story but I
thought -- 'you can't spell'. But it
wouldn't let me go. It just kept
niggling at me. I said to my father 'If
I write a novel, will you spell it for
me' and he agreed.
''Once I accepted I didn't need to
have to spell, I just wrote.''
The resulting novel Dark Side of
Aorangi tells the story of a man who
had an affair some time in the past
and picks up a hitchhiker who turns
out to be his daughter.
''I'm told it's a good story but it was
so poorly written. I just didn't know
how to write. It was a good story but
it was crap.''
However, he had been bitten by the
writing bug. The idea for his second
and recently published novel, Camp-
bell's Creek came from watching the
movie Titanic. ''I thought, what a
feeble, pathetic story for such a huge
Not long afterwards he was driving
between Roxburgh and Alexandra
and passed the monument at
Campbell's Creek documenting the
loss of life in the winter of 1863 when
blizzard and floods stranded and
killed hundred goldminers in Cen-
tral Otago. He began to investigate
the history and before long the novel
''I thought 'this is my Titanic'.''
He also wrote a sequel which is now
being edited before publication.
Robinson has organised for most of
his five novels to be published,
posthumously if necessary.
About eight years ago he was
diagnosed with prostrate cancer and
given two years to live. Three
months later Beverley was also
diagnosed with cancer and after
another three months, was gone.
Today Robinson is still living in his
Queenstown home buoyed by his
writing, a lively sense of humour
and assistance from friends and
''I'm 72. When you see young kids in
Starship - that's what's sad. It's not
sad for me. I've had my life.''
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