Mine has been a fortunate life. I have been dealt a few jokers, perhaps as a result of my own choices, but I also was served a pair of aces: an extraordinary mother and a career born of journalism.
My father deserted my mother shortly before I was born, leaving her to raise me and my two older sisters. She was strong, highly principled and in no way self-pitying. Mum was given much support by her own family and my father’s siblings but she was very independent. If I were half the person my mother was then I would be OK.
I started working at a newspaper at age 14 but did not begin writing on a contributing basis until 18 months later and it was another year before I scored my cadetship. Journalism gave me much satisfaction, travel and introductions to many interesting people. Most of all, though, it introduced me to the woman who was to become my wife, a loving and generous partner who encouraged me to tackle new challenges and who has stood by me in the good times and the tough periods. It is Judy’s encouragement and belief in me that has enabled me to embark on the next stage of my life.
Journalism also provided good grounding for me to become a novelist. Now I am focused on writing fiction and this website is in a period of gestation. It will develop along with the endeavors I embark on. Thank you for joining me on www.jimclarke.org and I hope that as I continue to develop as a novelist the site will entertain you and give you information that you find useful.
I am a former journalist, editor and publisher whose diverse career spans Australia, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong. Thousands of my stories and features have been published in newspapers and magazines over many years and I ventured into novel writing in 2013. That experience in journalism gave me broad insights and certainly is helping my story-telling now.
After starting my cadetship on the Sporting Globe in Melbourne, I worked on the Sun News-Pictorial and the group’s afternoon paper, the Herald. I was seconded to the South Pacific Post in Papua New Guinea and then went on to The Star in Hong Kong. I covered most areas of reporting, wrote features and during this period I became a sub-editor. Back in Melbourne I put aside my press pass and crossed the Rubicon; however, for me it was not a point of no return. After a few years in public relations at ICI Australia (now Orica), I joined The Age.
Shortly after Ranald Macdonald, visionary managing director of Age publisher David Syme & Co, acquired the Warrnambool Standard, I was appointed editor of the regional daily. On my return to Melbourne I helped Syme win the contract to publish Qantas Airways’ inflight magazine and became editor of that title after joining the Papal entourage on John Paul II’s 1986 tour of Asia-Pacific. I’m not one of the 1.2 billion followers of the Church of Rome, but WOW, what an experience. Rome, Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, the Seychelles in 10 days and the Bishop of Rome regularly coming to the lower deck of the 747 to chew the fat with the 72 journalists who did not take the pressure as well as the non-stop Pontiff. For me the objective was a magazine-style book that the David Syme crew got on the streets within 48 hours of the Pope’s chartered Qantas flight departing Perth.
Syme wanted me back in Warrnambool and that really was crossing the Rubicon because I moved from scribbling and editing to management. I became general manager. There was no return to journalism until I departed the company, which by then had been absorbed by Fairfax Media.
Following a stint as chief executive of BRW Media, publisher of what was then Australia’s leading business magazine, I founded a custom publishing company. Since 2012, I have concentrated on writing, primarily novels but I also accept select corporate commissions.
Through journalism I met Judith Tucker, daughter of highly respected journalist and journalism educator Lyle Tucker, whom I had known for many years. Judy and I eventually married and she remains my best friend.I am a member of the International Thriller Writers association, a Life Member and former President of the Melbourne Press Club, a former Chairman of Magazine Publishers of Australia, a former member of the ABC Advisory Board, Chairman of the newspaper section of the Asian World Publishing Awards, and have held positions on various community boards and committees.
My work has been recognised with a Walkley Award for journalism and a High Commendation in the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.
I am blessed with four children and live with Judy and our son and daughter in suburban Melbourne.
The path to achieving a published book is long and littered with obstacles. I am well along that path and hopefully before long on this page I shall announce that I am a published debut author; thanks to several people who have generously read and commented on my manuscript and to D P Lyle, MD, who taught me much at an International Thriller Writers MasterCraft session.
My novel is The Ice Man, 86,700 words that I hope will entertain and maybe even inform readers.
Scott Ryder is the protagonist with a soft spot for Australia and an even softer spot for his CIA boss and wife, Carol Sanchez. He is based in Berlin and she is at Langley until Russia reignites the Cold War and Ryder defends the free world in face-offs with the Russians in Moscow, Hong Kong, the US and Australia. Ryder’s biggest killing, literally, is in an ice cave in Antarctica, where the forces of evil have established a secret laboratory to help them achieve their sinister ambitions. Along the way, the US President forges an even closer relationship with Australia to assist America’s military strategy.
Contact me at Jim@JimClarke.org