Sunday, 2 November 2014

#Author Dick Mawson talks to Sarah Jane Butfield - about his astounding life story!

Welcome to my 'Meet the Author ' post which today features Dick Mawson.

Age 4: He survives a plane crash and being lost in the African bush
Age 11: He loses his right leg in a farm accident
Age 12: He becomes a powerboat champion in Rhodesia
Age 13: He represents his country and becomes an international champion
Age 16: He wins the International Gold Cup regatta at Victoria falls.
Age 16: At the same regatta he survives a 100 mph accident, resulting in serious injuries to his remaining leg and face
This determined and tenacious sixteen year old shakes off his injuries and takes up motor racing.

In the 1940's the world had Douglas Bader, a Squadron Leader who had lost both legs in a plane crash
During the 1950's the world was not aware of another legless fighter living in Rhodesia, southern Africa. His name was Richard Mawson, an eleven year old boy who lost his right leg in a farm accident and this is his story!
I have lost a limb, sustained multiple injuries, looked death in the face and against all odds survived. As a child my family and I miraculously survive a plane crash in the wilds of Africa and to the natives who found us we were---- "Gods who fell from the sky"
A determined and unwavering fight as a young man, to fulfil the ambition burning within me to be the best at whatever the cost. Consequently the path I chose with the disabilities I had was responsible for who I became.

Welcome Dick and thanks for joining us today.

Hi Sarah Jane I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

What inspired the title of The Gods Who Fell From The Sky?
As you may know, in 1946 our chartered Avro Anson crash landed in the African bush, the natives who found us had never seen a white person up close and thought we were-- “Gods who had fallen from the sky.” --My mother wrote about the journey to Africa so her family had a record of the trip, her story is the start of my book and my book became  “The Gods”.

"Nikanya looked up at the shiny silver bird spiralling out of the sky. It was the screeching of the bird that had attracted his attention, and as it fell lower and lower to earth, he ducked under a Mopani Tree, hoping it would offer him protection from the white gods who were certain to be in the bird’s belly. As it approached the ground at greater and greater speed and the wailing grew louder and louder, Nikanya became convinced that the bird had suffered a mortal wound.
As he watched this frightening spectacle being played out before his eyes and pounding heart, the boughs of the Mopani tree offered a measure of comfort. The bird was looking for somewhere to perch, and it seemed to Nikanya that the dry riverbed was where it was heading. As it disappeared from view, a huge cloud of dust and debris rose into the sky, and he knew the bird had finally fallen to earth. Silence reigned in the Luangwa valley once more. Since Nikanya was the local chief, it was his duty and obligation to greet any stranger to his part of the world. He stepped warily out from the protection of the tree and gathering his headmen around him, proceeding in the direction of the dissipating dust cloud to meet-- 'These Gods who had fallen from the sky'."

Who is your target audience for this book?
Being a true story I think it is a book that can be enjoyed by all. It is multi faceted, its a love story, its adventure, it's triumph over adversity, a story of a tenacious young Rhodesian and his exploits, its about his family  along with the stupid things one does in life, its about living life to the full and crossing the boundaries of the norm.
What is the biggest source of inspiration in your writing life?
My wife Penny who was a Junior Miss Rhodesia had been on at me for years to write about my life.
How long did it take you to write with this book?
We started the book together in our Pub when it was quiet.
I wrote it purely as a record for any future family to read about the Mawsons arrival in Africa from mom's story, my accidents and successes along with subsequent life in Rhodesia, SA, Mozambique, and our return to the UK, never envisioning it as a published work.

In 2008 Penny went to Africa on holiday and was found dead in bed four days later. My life stopped in its tract and the manuscript was a forgotten entity, I sold the Pub and locked myself away from the world for a period of 2 years, I was heartbroken and devastated.
To read the remainder of this interview visit