The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

  Phillip Overton

  Copyright 2006 by Phillip Overton

  Cover design by Laura Gordon

  First published in paperback by Trafford Publishing 2007

  15951 Los Gatos Blvd., Ste 16

  Los Gatos, CA 95032

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the permission, in writing, of the publisher.

  This book is a work of fiction. All the characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblances to real persons, either living or dead, are entirely coincidental. All businesses, institutions and organizations mentioned in this novel are the creation of the author’s imagination, or if real are used fictitiously without intent to describe actual events.

  For everyone who is still on their journey

  Author’s Note

  I’ve always been a storyteller. From the age of nine when I first discovered I could stand in front of the classroom and enthrall my classmates with my weird sense of imagination as I read aloud my latest creative writing assignment, I guess I was destined to walk the path of a writer. It was a long and mostly lonesome path from the confines of that classroom in Gosford back in 1981, to the release of my first novel in 2007 at the age of thirty-five. So it seemed fitting that my first book was entrenched in my childhood memories of growing up only an hour’s drive north of Sydney, Australia in the late 1970’s to early 80’s. Now that’s where my imagination kicks in.

  Many times I’ve been asked in the years since The Long Way Home was first published if the book was based on my own childhood. To answer that, I first have to admit that so much of a writer’s heart and soul goes into each of their books, but more so with their first book than any other. In the case of The Long Way Home, I may have gone even further. The book is filled with snippets of my own experiences and memories that I have worked into a body of fiction. Yes, I did live through an at times bitter divorce when my parents went their separate ways. Yes, I was singled out by other kids for my share of beatings. And yes, I do believe I was miraculously saved from a certain death by an Angel when I came into contact with overhead electric wires when climbing on top of a stationed train. Yet somehow I managed to turn out okay. Twenty years after leaving Gosford for the final time in 1986, I found myself married with two lovely children of my own and living in Brisbane. Oh, and I almost forgot. I had this finished manuscript with my name on it.

  After shopping the book around to every agent in Australia, and finding the closest I came to having someone look seriously at my work was when I was asked if I was related to Peter Overton from TV’s 60 Minutes, (as far as I know I’m not), I took my work elsewhere, which meant overseas. The problem is, that as a writer you don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to publishing your first novel. It should have happened yesterday. And so I jumped at the opportunity to independently release my first book through a self-publishing label in Canada and spent the next six years travelling up and down the east coast of Australia trying to raise interest and sell as many copies as I could. Chasing after success however can be a fickle business. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands, eventually it seeps through your fingers.

  What makes this book special however, is that it is a survivor, like the character Simon whom I’m sure you’ll come to love within the pages of this book. You never forget your first book. The feeling that comes when you write the words the end, or the satisfaction of holding a printed book with your name on the cover for the first time. This book will always be a reminder of where a journey began, and a reminder that a journey doesn’t necessarily have to end. It is a different book to what I would later go on to write, largely because I’ve put more of my heart and soul into the pages that follow than I’d ever feel comfortable doing again.

  Life is however a journey. Each day a new chapter. So sit back, and enjoy the read.

  Table of Contents

  Prologue: March 1976

  Chapter 1: September 1978

  Chapter 2: December 1978

  Chapter 3: March 1981

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6: December 1981

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10: May 1982

  Chapter 11: December 1982

  Chapter 12: November 1983

  Chapter 13: April 1984

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15: May 1984

  Chapter 16: July 1984

  Chapter 17: April 1985

  Chapter 18: May 1986

  Chapter 19: July 1986

  Chapter 20: October 1986

  Chapter 21: January 1987

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23: June 1987

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25: August 1987

  Chapter 26: March 1988

  Chapter 27: December 1989

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

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