Don't Die Wondering is Nick Campbell-Jones’s personal story of the years he spent working on cattle stations in the Queensland and Northern Territory outback in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
When he was 16½ Nick left Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands and went bush. They were extraordinary times on the stations, full of danger, hard work and personal challenges and achievements. At the same time it was very exciting and great fun … if you weren’t maimed or killed in the process, as some were. The book follows Nick on his remarkable journey straight from boarding school into the unknown – and to a marvellous life in Australia’s iconic outback. The experience inspired a personal motto that he has tried to live up to ever since – "Care, dare and don’t die wondering."
Below is the inscription Nick wrote to me on the title page of a copy of Don't Die Wondering.
It reads: Roger, This book would never have happened but for you. Your help every inch of the way is much appreciated. Anyone doing a book or whatever would not do better than have you do it for them.
It's immensely gratifying to be given such a glowing endorsement by Nick, and in return I want to say
that he was an exemplary client, always willing, cooperative and enthusiastic to the last. He was an
absolute pleasure to deal with, which made my job easy and enjoyable.
DON'T DIE WONDERING is available from Nick
by emailing him at: email@example.com
Case Study Approach 5 (Enhanced)
Don't Die Wondering
Memoir by Nick Campbell-Jones
The name of this approach, ‘Enhanced’ means that I expanded, edited and generally polished Nick Campbell-Jones’s prose to a professional standard that would do justice to his remarkable story.
Nick provided a rough draft manuscript he had written as best he could, which contained a great deal of information that made it possible for me to enhance the book for him.
It also meant extracting more information from him than he had included in his manuscript. It was part of my job as his ghostwriter to get as much extra information out of his head as possible – and there was plenty of it in there.
But extracting the information was only part of it. Nick was very matter-of-fact and understated in the relating of his experiences, which was a reflection of his modesty and reluctance to boast about such extraordinary exploits.
So an important part of my role was to get the full story to do it justice in the book. Jogging Nick's memory was achieved through several weekly two-hour face-to-face sessions. While Nick reminisced and remembered, I took notes and interrupted with questions or clarifications when required. The more I probed for detailed information the more Nick remembered. This can be achieved with face-to-face meetings, over the telephone or with emails (or any combination of the three).
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK
Amigo's last day. Shoeing him just before he was killed by a bull.
A Mate Called Amigo
I had a few great horses during my time on the stations, which almost makes up for all the mad, ratbag ones. One of my favourites was a gelding called Amigo. He could nearly talk that horse. I had him after I’d left the stock camps and he was at the homestead every night. In the evenings, I’d bring him over to the patch of green grass we had near the house. He’d have a chew on that for while and then I’d say, ‘OK, off to bed Amigo.’ Without any protest, he’d trot off to his stable - clip, clip, clip – from the house right through to the other side of the station area, past the other buildings and what not en route. He’d go straight into his stable and close the door behind him, which he could do because it was on a ratchet.
God he was a great horse. Sadly, he got horned between the eyes by a bull – break your heart. I didn’t see it happen, and I still don’t know why it did. I’d just returned from holidays and on the first day back at work I decided to shoe him. Amigo had been under a tree outside, but when I’d finished shoeing him I put him in a yard. There was also a bull in the yard, but I wasn’t concerned about that because he was a quiet one. But when I came back later to get Amigo, there he was lying on the ground with a big hole in the middle of his forehead.
He must have done something to upset the bull because it wouldn’t have attacked him unprovoked. Not that Amigo would have deliberately provoked it. He probably got close to the bull and nuzzled it for some reason, and the bull’s just gone, whoof! … right between the eyes, dead centre. One whack with the horn and it was all over for Amigo, instantly – he wouldn’t have known what hit him.