Nervous flight inspires MH370 novella

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014

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An anxious flight from Malaysia to Vietnam led a former Waikato resident to pen a novella called MH370.

But he's adopted a pseudonym as he's currently living in Malaysia and fears he could be persecuted if it's seen to be critical of government bodies.

The thriller is penned under the name of Scott Maka and provides a fictional account of the 24 hours leading up to the plane's disappearance.

It was released as an ebook in the early hours of yesterday morning, exactly three months after flight MH370 vanished on its way to Beijing, with 239 people on board.

Maka had never been a nervous flyer but the University of Waikato graduate and former Waikato Times reporter found himself white-knuckled when he flew from Malaysia to Vietnam a week after the jet disappeared.

"I was damn scared . . . Knowing that another aircraft had just vanished on the same flight path made me very, very jittery. I almost cheered when the plane landed," he said.

"It must have been just in my mind . . . The plane takes off and you just can't really help but think about it."

The 45-year-old communications consultant spent his anxious flight turning the different MH370 theories around and says his mind went on a "massive flight of fancy".

When he got off the plane, he already had the plot down and explained it to his "better half".

"I just blurted it out. And I told her right from the start to the end of the novella what the idea was. And that's ended up being exactly what I've written down," he said.

The story covers 24 hours and focuses on a female passenger in the leadup to the disappearance.

It has no chapter breaks and no happy ending.

In Malaysia, where Maka currently lives, MH370 has been a "massive subject of discussion" and many people had theories about what had happened.

So after he'd thought things through on the plane, the novella was a fast write - the first draft took less than two months, followed by a month of editing.

When told of the book last night, Danica Weeks, wife of Paul Weeks who was aboard the missing MH370, labelled it "disgusting".

Releasing a book so soon after the tragedy and without information on what happened made her angry.

"I'd rather they'd put their efforts to helping them find the truth,to be honest. We're going to be spending the rest of our lives doing that," she said.

Maka was sorry to hear his novella had upset Weeks and late last night issued a public apology. He hadn't set out to upset family members, he said.

"I'm really sorry and would like to publicly apologise to Mrs Weeks," he said. "I honestly didn't think victims would even know about the book, let alone be upset by it. Unfortunately, a journalist jumped straight on the phone to Mrs Weeks. Frankly, I don't think that was a very nice thing to do.

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"I don't feel like the blame lies with me. I feel like somebody is deliberately contacting her and upsetting her." He had been wary about the reception his novella would get and acknowledged it was an "unfortunate subject".

The novella is available through the Amazon store and smashwords.com

- Waikato Times

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