People often ask me where I got the idea to write Night Highway.

As a young man I spent many weekends camping rough in the bush with my brother Steve and our mates. A sleeping bag, a tent and a campfire. Basic stuff. We’d drive anywhere from 2 to 9 hours to get to our destination, so we’d often leave in the early hours of the morning which meant much of the driving was done at night.

We’d often comment on the remoteness and sameness of the landscape, particularly way out west, and how easy it would be to ‘get away with murder’ out there.

As a result of some tomfoolery, Steve and I got lost overnight once at a very remote property out west. The sun set quickly, and we just had time to light a small fire before darkness set in. A brief encounter with a snake saw us remain standing until first light, when we tried to assess the direction of our camp, some 5 kilometres away. It’s pretty confronting facing lack of water, oppressive heat and no discernible landmarks, while relying only on your sense of direction to get to safety, but you can’t just sit there, so we headed off into the bush. A couple of hours later, by some miracle, we emerged into the clearing of our campsite. Had we missed that clearing by even a few metres, the result could have been catastrophic.

My experiences with, and respect for, the rugged Australian landscape helped set the scene for Night Highway.

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