'Literary heart' continues to beat

MOST writers find it stressful enough having to churn out one novel let alone three. Karabar author Alan Watts doesn't do things by halves and is soon to release his three latest tomes.

A novel The Straight-Through House and poetry titles The Suitcase: A Kiwi Remembers and Bushed are his latest self-published works and a culmination of six years of writing.

"The novel I wrote very quickly - 49,000 words in three weeks. The story poured out, it's a story of a 13-year-old growing up in Coromandel, New Zealand," he said.

"One collection of poems is based on what I found in my mother's suitcase in the cupboard 20 years after she died - recollections, receipts and scripts and so on."

While two of his works are based in his native New Zealand, Mr Watts has also touched on his Australian travels in his 90-page poetry collection, Bushed.

"My wife Margaret and I have done at least 100,000km touring around Australia," he said. "I started writing about the places where we were and then the events that followed."

The former teacher and consultant said writing is his creative outlet after a career steeped in the formulas and patterns of mathematics.

"After 45 years in the classroom I was sick of mathematics, sick of kids. You've got to be brilliant to be really innovative in mathematics," he said.

"You get nice solutions for problems occasionally but I decided I would have no more of that and then I started doing poetry."

Mr Watts describes his works as a "smorgasbord"; he prefers to write on a variety of topics. He has released five other books including one centred on Queanbeyan titled Come for a Stroll through a City's Soul.

"What I write is spontaneous rather than studied. I'm a person who gets an idea and it will sit there for a week or two and then suddenly it will come out as a poem and then I write it," he said.

"I'm very careful with editing. I find sometimes you can edit the essence of poem out of it if you edit too much."

The 76-year-old's said his "literary heart" belonged in Yass where he will be holding his book launch. It is also home of the Yass Valley Writers Group of which he has been a member for the past 12 years. They meet on the first Tuesday of each month.

"Being part of a writer's group, it does give you a deadline. You feel you have to produce something by the end of the month," he said.

"It's also the stimulation of other people with their ideas. I feel they're inspirational."

Karabar author Alan Watts will launch his self-published works The Straight-Through House, The Suitcase: A Kiwi Remembers and Bushed at Yass Library on Tuesday, March 4 at 12.30pm.

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