Surfer turned author John Lane writes book, Going Back for the Back Beat, at 70

PUBLISHED: Surfer turned author John Lane with his wife Mary at their Nelson Bay home and the book Going Back for the Back Beat.
PUBLISHED: Surfer turned author John Lane with his wife Mary at their Nelson Bay home and the book Going Back for the Back Beat.

John Lane is a lifelong surfer who worked his days as a storeman.

Fifteen years ago he met Mary Attard, a fitness fanatic, and the married couple decided on a "seachange" moving from Sydney to Nelson Bay.

Two years ago, John, then aged 68, had a life-changing light bulb moment.

"I was standing at the sink drying the dishes actually, ready to go for a surf when this idea came to me like a flash out of nowhere. I don't even know how to explain it. I couldn't understand what was happening," he said.

A rock music history buff, Lane imagined what would happen if a modern day rockabilly band, which he called Freightrain Hobos, was transported back in time to 1953 and into the lives of musicians such as Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison prior to their journey to fame.

And so the seeds were planted for what would become Lane's first ever published book titled 'Going Back for the Back Beat'.

"The Hobos are a red-hot trio struggling with their music and their personal lives," Lane said. "Lead singer Ethan is convinced through repetitive time warp experiences that their music has origins in the past and a connection with the early rockabilly legends."

The draft took just six months to write, with Mary employed as head researcher while John tapped away on his computer, and nearly two years to publish.

"We were pleasantly shocked to have our first draft accepted by London-based publishers Austin McAuley," Lane said.

"I had no idea the proof reading and editing would take so long ... the whole process of a script going backwards and forwards to London and back prolonged the print date. But it was worth the wait ... just to receive the first printed copy was beyond my wildest expectations."

The book has piqued Lane's enthusiasm for writing and he has prepared drafts for two more books exploring the 1960s.

Port Stephens residents can meet John and Mary Lane at a book reading to take place at Tomaree Library on Friday, July 5, from 10am, where copies of the book will be sold for $20 with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group.

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