Author takes on difficult topic

22:53, Aug 15 2013
Southland Times photo
Queenstown man David Cole.

Commerce might make the world go around but Queenstown man David Cole is doing his part to uphold the cultural values which he believes should really be at the top of the tree. Debbie Jamieson talks to him about his first published novel. 

Dalefield dweller David Cole has always struck me as a fairly straight up and down type. Sure he's into a bit of jazz but he's usually seen wearing a suit and works long hours for little as chairman of the Queenstown Lakes Affordable Housing Trust.

Therefore, I was more than a little surprised to read the prologue of his first novel Eyes of Madness - the rape of a 14-year-old girl described in more detail than I felt comfortable reading. Within a page we were into war, murder, Goebbels and the hint that allied war crimes have more to answer for than is often acknowledged.

What follows is more than 400 pages of fast moving action and complex plot bringing together historic areas of interest to Cole. Central to the story is 1970s Australian lawyer Kathryn Novak and the discovery of her own dark past. It stretches from World War II to the Vietnam era and back to the Kings Cross bad lands of Sydney. As the jackets says: "The chilling revelations that unfold force her to confront a monstrous truth that ultimately boils over in an avalanche of frightening consequences no one can contain."

Eeek. However, I'm still to recover from the prologue and Cole is unapologetic.

"Personally I don't have a problem with it but people say ‘look I've known you for 10 years and I thought I knew you'. It's a bit raw in places."


The scene, he says, is not gratuitous. "It gives the background to a damaged person."

A person many worlds away from Cole's own comfort zone.

Growing up in Auckland in a literary family (his father spent 10 years as a writer and editor of the New Zealand Herald) he moved into the world of commerce as an adult with a successful career in Australia including running the IT department for a multi-national, working for an advertising agency and a software company. "I have a financial background but I try and shed that experience."

It took more than a year to write and re-write the book and he has self-published a few hundred copies to test in the local market.

"I've always wanted to try the challenge. It's a book that's not intended to win any literary awards it's designed as entertainment," he said.

And entertainment is necessary, according to this man of commerce.

"If I could turn the world upside down I'd have people like (performer) Margaret O'Hanlon at the top of the tree bringing social values to who we are for the community and have the bankers begging for their next meal. We really have the world upside down."

His role as chairman of the Queenstown Lakes Affordable Housing Trust is partly motivated by a desire to right this wrong.

"We're in an inequality bubble globally when you get guys that can scribble out some Apple app and make $30 million in a nano second whilst other people are toiling away for their $14 an hour.

"We should value people's work contributions more equitably then we do in this day and age. With the creative people at the top of the tree. The people who make a difference to our thinking."

The Mirror