by Yvonne Gardiner
THE storyline for the biggest TV mini-series to be filmed in Australia was born in the mind of a Clarence Valley author.
Peter Watt, of Maclean, is better known overseas where his books are sold - like Germany, England, the Czech Republic - than in Australia.
He says 80 per cent of his readers are women.
"I do have a strong following of readers," he said.
"A few times I've hit the bestseller list in Australia.
"The Americans picked up my book for a TV mini-series.
"I signed the contract a long time ago.
"There's been a few legal arguments.
"It'll be filmed in Australia and seen internationally.
"The title of the mini-series is Dark Frontier."
Peter says this is the first time his work has been picked up for television but, as an author, he doesn't expect to have any input into the production.
His latest book, From the Stars Above, the 12th and last instalment in the Frontier series, came out in November, 18 years after Peter's first book was published.
The series focuses on the hostility between the Duffy and Macintosh dynasties.
"Most of the readers started with the first one," Peter said.
"The books take you overseas in the 1880s.
"There was so much that had never been written about.
"I don't write about those things that have been flogged to death.
"The knowledge about Australia in the rest of the world is pretty slim.
"I write about the unknown part of our history."
Peter has had six other books published, including three as part of the Papua series.
Some days, he's writing in the morning, and fighting bushfires in the afternoon.
A cause dear to his heart is to see Australian volunteers helped with an organisation similar to the Legacy network that looks after the families of police officers and military.
In addition to writing historical thrillers that have sold more than half a million copies in Australia and New Zealand alone over the past 15 years, Peter has also spent time as a soldier, private investigator, police sergeant, adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, prawn trawler deckhand, builder's labourer, ambulance emergency driver, pipe layer and real estate salesman.
He has lived and worked with Aborigines, Islanders, Vietnamese and Papua New Guineans and speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin.
From the Stars Above
For a hundred years they have never forgiven, never forgotten.
Now, the war between the Duffy and Macintosh dynasties will be brought to its stunning conclusion.
Private Patrick Duffy was forced to flee Malaya as a child, and left orphaned when his mother died in Changi prison.
Now, returning to fight a fearless enemy, he must confront the ghosts of his past if he is to find any hope for the future.
Michael Macintosh is forging his own path to escape his mother's obsessive control.
Sailor, soldier and mercenary, he will soon face war again, in the brutal jungles of Vietnam.
Sarah Macintosh ruthlessly crushes anyone who gets in her way, and has vowed to destroy her sister-in-law, Jessica Duffy-Macintosh.
Fixated on her own legacy, she has ignored her family's inheritance - a century-old curse, to be paid in blood...
The book is available from Macmillan Australia, RRP $29.99.