Tarte inks mixture of fact and fiction

Daryl Tarte at The Fiji Times in Suva. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

DARYL Tarte’s new novel and the ninth to be published, bring issues such as climate change and the loss of Fijian identity much closer to home.

The book “The Beginning of the End” is a captivating mixture of fact and fiction that draws a clear picture of the impacts of climate change on Pacific Island countries such as Fiji, with the book containing six sections dealing with the issue.

Daryl’s family came to Fiji in 1868 making him a fourth generation to live in Fiji, giving him great insight on how Fiji had evolved over the years.

“The main purpose of the book is to highlight the dangers of climate change and writing about it was quite emotional and it stirred me,” Daryl said.

“It made me want to do a book like this because there are people affected around the world and in the Pacific and who are in that kind of predicament. The novel describes how the change in climate is impacting small islands such as Fiji and Kiribati and how it impacts the world too.

“I have other themes in the book like the Fijian identity and politics. In the novel there is a character that promotes Fijian identity and how that comes into conflict with what the wider population want.

“There is a feeling out there that the iTaukei (the Fijian people as I call them), could be at risk because they are only a small population as one of the character’s say in the book and in the big world their identity is at risk.”

He said one of his characters in the book tries to preserve the Fijian identity, but it then came into conflict with the main character of his book.

“There is some debate about whether the climate is changing or not and President Trump says it’s a whole lot of nonsense,” he said.

“Now one of my characters in the book says climate change is happening. Climate was always changing but now it is changing at a quicker pace. Look at China and India and the level of pollution there and Fiji is doing the same thing but in their own way.”

He said writing a novel usually took him about 12 months because he is a part-time writer.

“Finding a publisher is the next big challenge, particularly in a place like Fiji and for a relatively unknown author,” he said.

I was fortunate enough to have found a publisher in London called Olympia Publishers, who published the novel.

“It has been published and has gone online. It’s available on Amazon, in outlets around the world and it has had some reviews in London. It is also available here at the USP bookshop and they will be distributing it in other areas too. It’s an easy read and the main character in the book is a young man who goes through journalism school in USP and becomes a reporter.

“He is employed by The Fiji Times and at the end of the book becomes the editor of The Fiji Times.”

He said writing a book had its challenges.

“You have to do your research, you have to get accuracy, make the character exciting and believable otherwise people will just dismiss it,” he said.

“You got to create interesting scenes.

“This is book number nine that I’ve published but it all comes in different genres. I’ve done fiction, historical books, historical fiction, profile, and novels.

“I haven’t stuck to one particular genre that is why I’m probably more an amateur than a professional because real professionals stick to one genre.” When recalling the reason he loved to write, he said with a smile it was to prove his former English teacher wrong.

“I went to a boarding school in Melbourne and once in an English class we were told to write an essay about smoking,” he said.

“So we sat down and wrote our essays. After writing our essays, our English teacher told certain students to stand up and read their essay and I stood up and read mine because he asked me to.

“One of the things in writing is that you have to catch your reader in the first sentence or in the first paragraph and the first sentence in my essay said “we all do it” (and we were all 16 and 17-year-old boys then).

“The first sentence brought the house down with everyone laughing. Eventually the English master told me “Tarte sit down, you will never be able to write the King’s English” and that went straight to me and it hurt me and that had also motivated me to prove him wrong for the past 60 to 70 years.”

He said he had always enjoyed writing.

“I’ve always had that pleasure and I don’t write for money I write for the pleasure of it and getting a book published,” he said.

“Another book is with my agent in Melbourne at the moment and is about an adventure story about Fiji so I’m hoping it will come out in the next 12 months.

“I’m working on a radio play at the moment too and I’ve never done one before so I thought I would have a crack at it now.

“There are a lot of good writers around the Pacific, but people don’t write because of the difficulties of getting their books published which is a big challenge.

“It is OK for writers in Australia and New Zealand because they have publishers there at their back door. Here we have to find a publisher, which is difficult.

“I was fortunate that my books got published in different places.

“I would say to anyone who has the ambition to write, you don’t know what the extent of your talent is and there is a lot of stories to tell about the Pacific.”

His most popular and best-selling book is called Fiji, a historical novel that covers four periods of Fiji’s evolution from Cakobau, the colony under the British, the dominion under Ratu Mara and during the coup by Sitiveni Rabuka.

It took him 10 years to write it because it required a huge amount of research.

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