Author David Lawrence is an ex-Tasmanian, sort of…. David worked here for a time as a financial analyst at Mobile Oil. His time as a Tasmanian left an impression on him and we talk about the many things he loves about Tasmania, including its natural beauty, the great lifestyle for those that love fishing and sailing, the friendliness of its people, the lack of worries for the most part with traffic and of course the conundrum of how so many good restaurants can be housed in so small a place

I spoke to David Lawrence about his new book Fox Swift, a novel about a young aspiring footballer. In part he wrote Fox Swift to encourage reluctant children to read and this aim has become a reality with school libraries reporting the book is often borrowed more than once by readers. To aid him in writing David enlisted the help of Hawthorn player Cyril Rioli. Cyril, of like mind, told David he wished there had been such a book about AFL football when he was growing up. The book however is not solely aimed at football fans, for example one of the main characters is a good visual artist. It hopes to encourage children whatever their skill to excel in their talents.

The book does this, including addressing the serious problem of bullies who David says ‘don’t travel too well’ in the novel and have justice with a joke delivered to them. The book also explores multicultural Australia (the story encompasses indigenous and Sudanese characters with Fox’s parents being humanitarian lawyers) with respect, without adopting a preachy tone. There is some fun with the possibly symbolic names such as the villain, cold Mr. Winter and the cunning of young Fox although David says Fox was named after his favourite X-files character. David hopes the book will be enjoyed by not just footy fans and has had jokes road-tested for their appeal.

David has wonderful things to say about Cyril Rioli, a fantastic sportsman to work with, modest and humble and loved by fans. This is evidenced when at signings children cheerfully chat as they file past David and his business partner and illustrator Jo Gill but when they get to Cyril they are rendered speechless such is the admiration and awe for the young sportsman.

One of the important things about this book is that the children are in control of their own destiny in coming up with solutions to their problems including great work in recruiting a one-time player to be their coach.

The dialogue and cartoons help to break up the text and make it more palatable to reluctant readers and there are hopes there will be a sequel with readers having a chance to have a say in Fox’s next adventure by replying to the email at the back of the book with their suggestions.

Fox Swift is out now published by Slattery Media Group