Steve Hutcheson is a new author. If he could have started earlier he would have, however he did engineering instead, built factories and went broke. He became an acknowledged art photographer of black and white nudes from a studio in Chapel St until it lost its appeal. Then he went to war. Not as a soldier but in the aftermath, in the remnants of Kosovo to start with. His role as he saw it was to replace the doors that the soldiers had kicked in. For the best part of two decades, along with his team, he built thousands of houses for hundreds of thousands of disaster victims; he built schools and clinics, roads and irrigation systems and dug wells. He saw hundreds of dead and decayed bodies laid out on the streets of Aceh; he went to funerals of colleagues who had been assassinated; he bunkered down when explosions occurred and grew anxious when members of his community were kidnapped. He advised government ministers and led UN teams creating jobs for a hundred thousand people. He got a Peace medal for his efforts.
It was during the necessary breaks between missions he started writing. His first novel, The Fifth Wife was written while he spent a year sailing down the waterways of Holland, Belgium and France with Akiyo, his then girlfriend, now his wife. He started several others and put them aside when he went back to work. Jumbuk Road, his latest novel was started while he was in Afghanistan and took several years to complete. It was hard for him to be challenged with things outside of the harsh life he was leading. When he does write, it is about some aspects of the life he has led or experienced. His characters are a combination of people he has known. He wants to keep writing in this theme. The Eclusier, his wife and his daughter, is one such new story that lends itself to his time in the art scene of Melbourne and then living on the French canals.
War and disaster had taken their toll. He was cynical about the humanitarian aspects of his industry, tired of the geopolitics and fighting to get the most positive outcome for the recipients rather than accepting the easiest program to deliver. After seventeen years he called it quits with aid work, to settle down onto his small farm in northern Victoria. He raises an odd bunch of sheep and a few alpaca along with a handful of chickens that follow him around while he works and spends most of his days soaking in the atmosphere of his small piece of paradise, or digging holes for fence posts or vegetables and will continue writing with whatever remaining energy he might have.