Danny's will to write

CAMPBELLS Creek author Danny Furlong is more determined than your average author.

A stroke in his mid-30s didn’t stop Danny Furlong from pursuing his passion for words. CHRIS PEDLER reports.

Your average author might pick up their pen and note pad and sit in their favourite armchair to jot down a few ideas. Others might take their laptop and find a quite place down the road to work.

It's a routine that many writers take for granted.

Danny Furlong has painstakingly typed each letter in his two books using a laser attached to his reading glasses.

Furlong became a mute quadriplegic 30 years ago after he had a stroke.

But his passion for writing has been anything but diminished.

Furlong uses a special keyboard that is operated by a head laser attached to his reading glasses.

So while some writers may spend months or years writing a book using their hands, the process is even slower and much more time consuming for Furlong.

“Finding the words to write has always come easy for me, but the physical task of typing a book takes me forever,” he said.

“Over the years I devoted myself to writing many things - novels, film and stage scripts, short stories and poems.”

It was a shock for Furlong who led a healthy, active life.

“So much for being a fit and healthy non-smoker and vegetarian,” Furlong told the Bendigo Advertiser.

“In some ways becoming a mute quad was a boon. I had been a very active person with all sorts of stuff on the go.

“In hindsight I see I was also quite self-absorbed and self-centred.

“So with nearly all of life's demands, diversions, and pursuits stripped away I became a better person, investing much more in others.”

Furlong wrote and released his autobiography Flipside 10 years ago and has just released Drinsighe: Ellydd Gate, the first in a trilogy of books for young adults.

Being a mute quadriplegic allowed Furlong a lot of time to write, something he had always had a passion for.

“I'd always hankered to (write) but never had the time to do,” he said.

“In my 20s I spent many months living on a Greek isle writing the great Australian novel, which I hurriedly threw into the bin when I re-read it back in Australia.”

Putting his story on paper 10 years ago was a big decision for Furlong who saw his personal and unique story was a good autobiography. He titled it Flipside.

Finding the words to write has always come easy for me, but the physical task of typing a book takes me forever. - Danny Furlong

Furlong also re-wrote Flipside as a play and had it produced in Bendigo.

“Flipside is very personal, but like a lot of writers I see that candid, even derogatory exposure makes for a better autobiography,” he said.

“I'm very aware that my mute quadriplegia juxtaposed with my former very active life makes for a good, interesting story and the way I've written it makes it entertaining and at times quite humourous.”

Flipside tells the story of Furlong’s extremely active life before his stroke as well as the experience of awakening from a coma and having his life dramatically changed.

But as well as an autobiography, Furlong has written enough for a three-book series called Drinisghe.

He originally wrote the 1000-page story for his first two daughters about 20 years ago.

“That 1000-page story was the initial Drinsighe. It is three books long and Ellydd Gate is the first book,” he said.

“Years later I rewrote the whole story for older teenagers and young adults.” 

“I just started writing and got the girls into another world. I had no idea where the story was going. I didn't plan it out.”

One of Furlong’s daughters, Gemma is also his editor.

When Furlong reached his 60s, he decided he wanted to publish some of his works to have something to show for his life.

“I revamped Flipside and Ellydd Gate and this year I published them online,” he said.

“Gemma is hassling me to research marketing avenues, but I realise now that I just want to write.

“I've revamped book two of Drinsighe and sent it to Gemma for editing and now I want to get stuck into book three.”

But even with such an impressive workload, Furlong show no signs of slowing down in the future.

“I have another project in mind after that,” Furlong said.

“Life is too short and there's too much writing to do to spend too much time getting my books to a wide audience. 

“If they want to my kids can do that when I'm gone.”

For more information on Danny Furlong or to buy one of his books visit www.dannyfurlong.com.au or find them at www.amazon.com

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