Author's fascination with war spurs novel with local flavour

JIMMY HICK
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2012
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Taranaki author Sid Marsh

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Taranaki author and history buff Sid Marsh toured the villages of northern Italy finding authentic voices for his debut novel.

Greyhound was launched at Puke Ariki this week and it follows the exploits of the NZ 2nd Division which fought throughout Italy during World War II.

"I spoke to locals over there and had a yarn with Italian writers, novelists, historians and reporters," Marsh, 55, who went to Italy in 2008 and 2010, said.

During his five weeks in Italy, the Eltham writer also visited the Vatican City and Triest, the city where the New Zealand 2nd Division ended its Italian campaign.

The novel is also the result of hours of research done at Alexander Turnbull Library and the Archives New Zealand Building in Wellington.

Filled with terse humour and the banter typical of Kiwi soldiers, Greyhound has a Taranaki spin, with the main characters hailing from the province.

A WWII history buff, Marsh also interviewed Taranaki veterans, to help give his novel authenticity.

The author said he had always been fascinated by the war.

"I've been interested in WWII for years," he said. "About 10 years ago I started looking into tank warfare, and I've always been a sucker for Sherman and Tiger tanks".

An author for 22 years, Marsh has written several non-fiction books which explore his other passion, New Zealand wildlife.

He said he would decide whether to continue with fiction after seeing how well Greyhound was received. "If it sinks like a stone, I'll stick to non-fiction."

Greyhound is available from Woodshed publishers for $39.99.

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