The Profiled Author

The Profiled Author is part of ‘Let’s Talk with the Authors’, a series of interviews with authors who have worked with editors4you or WriteDesign Publications. The promotional opportunity is also open to other authors (contact us for details).

The Profiled Author: Greg Kater

Promoting Your Books

Around Christmas 2019, I offered my authors a simple way to promote their books through an author interview.

As we writers know, it’s one thing to write a book. It’s quite another to promote it. Writers tend to shy away from promotion, but it’s vital to kick the shyness habit and get our books out there in the big wide world.

In this third interview in the series, the profiled author is Greg Kater, a prolific author who has so far published four novels: The Warramunga’s War, The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War, Skills of the Warramunga and Conflict on the Yangtze. And he hasn’t finished writing yet!

Today, we chat with Greg about his four books. Meet Greg on his website.

the profiled author greg kater
Greg Kater author of the Warramunga series and Conflict on the Yangtze

Tell us how you started writing

I am an 80-year-old Australian living on the Gold Coast of Queensland. I retired as a geological and geophysical consultant to the resources industries five years ago. During my professional life, I was always busy and never had time for writing anything but thousands of technical reports.

On my retirement, I had time on my hands and decided that I would like to write fiction using my knowledge of different lands and peoples. I had worked with many weird and wonderful people and thought it would be fun to include them (under different names) in my novels.

That’s an interesting point, because your characters are vividly painted, likeable (the goodies!) and realistic. Did you tell these people they were going to appear in your books? How did they react?

No, I didn’t tell anyone in advance that I might base my characters on them. At first, I didn’t know which characters I was likely to develop as the story progressed, but each situation brought forth a new memory. Most of the characters I remembered are diverse and spread out all over the place. Some may not now be alive. Contemporaries of mine who have recognised themselves in my novels have been most amused (and, I hope, pleased).

I was fascinated and completely drawn in by the descriptions of countries, locations, buildings and customs in your novels. How were you able to make them so vibrant?

I travelled extensively and worked in all parts of the world and in all sorts of environments, from Australian desert and remote bush country to parts of the USA, Central America, South East Asia, Russian Siberia, the Middle East and most provinces of China. The countries and locations in my books are all personally familiar to me.

Tell us about your books.

The profiled author’s first book

My first book, The Warramunga’s War, was initially based on my father’s war diaries and his involvement in the Syrian campaign and the desert war in the Middle East and North Africa during World War II. My principal characters were based on people I had worked with at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, including some of the local aboriginal people, the Warramungas, during the 1960s. All the localities in the book are places where I have been and know well.

book cover for the profiled author the warramunga's war
The Profiled Author: Greg Kater’s The Warramunga’s War

Greg’s second book

My second book, The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War, which takes place in early 1946, deals with the trafficking of children from the war-torn Philippines. I lived in the Philippines for 11 years from 1969 as VP with one of the major mining companies there. I learned a great deal about the havoc and suffering during the Japanese occupation, as well as some of the terrible things that happened later as criminals took advantage of the chaos in the aftermath of war. I felt a need to write about this.

book cover greg kater
The Profiled Author: Greg Kater, The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War

The third book in the Warramunga trilogy

My third book, Skills of the Warramunga, takes place in Malaya, where I have also worked throughout the country. In the aftermath of World War II, many different groups, including communists, bandits, Nazis and others, were trying to gain control of all or part of the Malayan Peninsular from the British. The novel deals with the period when the British created the Malayan Union in April 1946. It showcases the extraordinary tracking skills of the Warramunga aborigines, which I witnessed first-hand during my time at Tennant Creek.

photo of book cover for the profiled author
The Profiled Author: Greg Kater, Skills of the Warramunga

The fourth book – Greg couldn’t let his characters go!

I had originally set out to write a trilogy using the same principal characters, but after the third novel I just couldn’t let them fade away! So, I wrote Conflict on the Yangtze. I have been to China more than a hundred times and am very familiar with the landscape and the people. In 1946, although Japanese occupation had ended, there was still a good deal of fighting throughout China between the government (the Kuomintang), the communists, warlords and various criminal groups, all trying to establish centres of power. Most of the leading families mentioned in the novel are real and there certainly was some opium smuggling going on at that time.

book cover for the profiled author
Greg Kater’s Conflict on the Yangtze

Your books clearly required a huge amount of painstaking research. How did you go about this?

In spite of my intimate knowledge of the localities and their histories, I had to undertake a great deal of research to confirm the accuracy of the historical events my fictional characters were involved in. I researched material from libraries, diaries and known histories as well as talking to people who had been around during the war in the different countries. As mentioned before, I was also able to use my father’s war experiences in my first novel.

Did you enjoy doing the research? Why?

Historical research is very fulfilling. I have always been interested in history and the research enabled me to learn much more about past events than I previously knew. That gathering of knowledge, in no small way, increased my enthusiasm for ensuring the accuracy of historical events.

What are the main themes in these four books?

Apart from a good amount of action, adventure and history, I have tried to include the themes of friendship, trust, humour and skills, mixed in with a certain amount of love and romance.

Who do you consider is your main audience?

I think my main audience comprises all ages, from 15 years up. With my style of historical fiction, I don’t believe it necessary to spice up the narrative with lurid descriptions of steamy sexual affairs or extreme violence. In wartime and its aftermath, violence does occur. When it does, I have generally moderated the descriptions as far as possible to appeal to a wider audience.

Many authors struggle with promotion. How have you gone about promoting your book, and what success have you met with?

Yes. As with all other authors, I struggle with promotion. I have been fortunate to have the support of the Online Book Club and other such organisations which have produced hundreds of maximum star reviews for my books and supported me in other ways. I have also been fortunate to have received several book awards from various international groups that run competitions. If any of that translates into book sales, we’ll have to see…

Greg, I believe you’re currently writing your next book. Can you give us a sneak peak, without giving too much away?

I am about 70% through another historical fiction novel which is set in a completely different period to that of my first four books. The working title is Scent of a Foreign Land. It follows the adventures of a family in the 1830s-40s who sail to Australia from England and carve out a life for themselves producing cattle and sheep in the vast wild country over the mountains west of Sydney.

The story is based on the detailed diaries and letters of my great-great-grandmother, as well as letters and histories of other ancestors. Writing this novel has been slow, as I am in possession of almost too much research material. However, it is a wondrous thing to be able to get into the minds of my forebears. They were a hardy lot. It is quite a series of adventures.

You can read reviews of and purchase Greg’s books by:

Going to Greg’s website and purchasing from one of the suppliers listed there.


In our next ‘Let’s Talk with the Authors’ series, we chat with another Gold Coast author who wrote a moving account of losing her son in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

If you would like to be interviewed for this series as a featured author, please contact us.

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