Buried deep in the hills of the King Country of New Zealand is our town of Taumarunui. Buried deeper in these hills is a village called Kaitieke. And in Kaitieke, there is a man who writes epic novels about ninjas in feudal-era Japan. Meet Stuart Campbell.

Name: Stuart Campbell

Creative field: Writing, Martial Arts

Location: Katieke/Taumarunui, New Zealand

Best known for: Authoring the Black Dove trilogy; licensed Bujinkan Shodoshi (teacher)

23504511My connection: Shortly after the publication of my first novel, I was invited to dinner by the Taumarunui Writers’ Group. I met Stuart that evening and was amazed to learn he was completing his trilogy of novels about ninjas in 14C Japan. A year later, I read and reviewed the first book in Stuart’s series, Black DoveSince then, we have crossed paths occasionally around town, most recently at a reading of Lynelle Kuriger‘s latest play. That night, I found out that Stuart’s ancestors hail from Waipu which means we also have a very distant Nova Scotia connection. I also learned that Stuart was nearing completion of his fourth book, Shadows in the Clouds, which has just been released this week.

Inspiration for this writer:  Stuart has been highly prolific in the past few years, all while working his full time job at the Ruapehu District Council. He is one of several Taumarunui writers who have ventured into independent publishing and he has produced some quality work. He also trains others in martial arts, a passion Stuart has held for decades and which inspires his writing. A genuine strength in Stuart’s writing is his ability to integrate his knowledge of martial arts training techniques into narrative.

s-l225Why you should check him out and share with others: Stuart has had nothing but positive reviews of Black Dove on Amazon, mainly from readers who enjoy reading about martial arts and appreciate the realism Stuart portrays, particularly about the historical nature of ninja. He is an expert in his field and has written blog posts about his arts on his website. I am really pleased to share the start of the prologue from Shadows in the Clouds and congratulate Stuart on launching his new book.

Sample of work:

(From the prologue of Shadows in the Clouds)

image002Robert Mason lay staring into the darkness, his legs trapped by the dead body of someone less fortunate.  Moments earlier he had been looking out the window of the low flying Chinook as he watched their Apache escort veer off and head back to base.  Only to see it replaced by an AH6 little bird helicopter, that appeared out of the darkness.  Next thing he heard was a shout from the pilot on the comms-link to his headset.  ‘Shit, inbound, brace, brace!’

Seconds later there was an explosion, as the cockpit exploded, decimating the pilots inside.  Robert just had time to see the face of the navy SEAL across from him as they went down, the camouflage unable to conceal the fear and resolution in his eyes as he anticipated he was about to die.

There was a loud cracking sound as the rotor blades hit the rock face, shattering the carbon fibre into thousands of pieces.  The remaining fuselage careered down to the valley below, causing it to tumble end over end, tossing its occupants like rag dolls in a barrel.  Robert tried to relax as weapons and bodies bounced around inside, between the creaks and crashes the unmistakable sound of bones breaking, cracking like dry timber in a forest fire.   Then there was a deep thud as the remains of the Chinook came to a halt next to a deep river on the valley floor.

Find out more: bujinkan.net.nzlulu.com, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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