Updated: Dec 21, 2019
When he's not writing or reading, you're likely to find Mark Smith in his element: the sea. Mark Smith has lived on the Aussie coast for more than 35 years and his work is strongly influenced by environmental issues, which are close to his heart, and the coastal region. Written in a similar vein as John Marsden's 'Tomorrow When the War Began', Mark has expanded his first very successful novel, 'The Road to Winter' into a popular trilogy. A teacher by profession (although currently a PhD student, focusing on his own creative writing) it is little surprise that 'The Road to Winter' is now found as a text on the Australian curriculum. The high-octane trilogy appeals to teenagers, parents and teachers alike, and deftly interwoven with this speculative/dystopian adventure story are some big issues that no doubt stir up great discussion, such as: survival, courage and conflict; the environment; community versus self-interest; loss, loneliness and friendship; and truth, trust and secrets.
A high calibre author, Mark has won several prizes for his writing: Wilder Country won the 2018 Australian Indie Book Award for YA, and also a short story writer, in 2015 he won the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize.
What I also love is that when he's not surfing, or writing, Mark is such an enthusiastic and encouraging supporter of fellow authors. If you ever get the chance to go to one of his talks or attend one of his writing workshops, I thoroughly recommend it.
Some review comments;
"A riveting story of survival that questions the prices of freedom and safety as well as the value of an individual life...A breakout new series full of romance, danger, and a surprisingly engaging world."--Kirkus [starred], on The Road to Winter.
"The superb pacing, natural dialogue, and vivid descriptions of a country and people ravaged by disaster make this a pulse-pounding read. Kas is a welcome heroine: competent, strong, assertive, and brave--and it is refreshing to have a female love interest who is not traditionally beautiful (she has a large birthmark on her cheek). A strong addition to the genre. (Dystopian. 13-adult)"--Kirkus on Wilder Country
'This book canvasses some important and relevant issues and it does so through the prism of young eyes…It balances the softness of helping others and emotional themes with the vivid and exciting action of fear, survival and revenge.’ Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed