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Successful book launch "The Demon Mark"

Paul Bird writes historic murder mystery novel set in Dungog.

Crime thriller and children's book author Paul Bird has launched his book over the weekend from the Clarence Town/Dungog CWA building.

Thank you, Paul for raising $750 for Arthritis Australia!

The Sydney based author Paul Bird, AKA SK Falconer, says he based the book in Dungog because his great grandmother, Ellen Bird, lived in Allynbrook.

"My great grandmother Ellen Bird ran a wine bar in Allynbrook, so the original book was set over there. So the sequel happens in Dungog," Mr Bird said.

The Demon's Mark is a sequel Mr Bird's previous award winning novel The Diabolus Legacy.

Set in 1877 Dungog, The Demon's Mark follows a jaded Crimean war veteran and police inspector Cormag MacLeod investigating a series of murders where the victims all have strange marks inscribed on their body.

"MacLeod is moving around between Allynbrook and Dungog, where he's working for the police when he encounters a series of murders that he's got to solve and in doing that he interacts with a load of historical figures," Mr Bird said.

Writing a murder mystery thriller set in a real historic places presented its own challenges according to Mr Bird.

"I tried to incorporate real people from the time but also weave a thriller in through that," he said.

As a part of writing the novel, Mr Bird tried to recreate and reimagine what Dungog would be like in 1877.

Research for the novel took Mr Bird to Dungog multiple times as well as let him collaborate with both the Gresford and the Dungog Historical Societies.

"I could work out what would have been happening, what they would have been eating, what were they wearing, where did they go to church, how did they work, what do they use for lighting, all that stuff. It's just fascinating," Mr Bird said.

As a result, The Demon's Mark features Dungog's different historical characters and buildings, including Ellar McKinlay, John Wade and Christopher Lane.

"The first book includes a guy called Dr McKinlay who was a big figure in Dungog's history," Mr Bird said.

"I spent a few weekends just actually walking the town, there's those wonderful plaques that tell you what was there on each of the buildings. I was able to walk around and draw maps of what the town would have been like."

The novel also features Dungog's own Royal Hotel, as well as locations just outside of town such as the old gold mining town of Wangat.

"It's good fun researching the history. It's fascinating and I've had a lot of help from the Dungog Historical Society," Mr Bird said.

Like most other things, Mr Bird's book launch has been impacted by COVID.

"I had set up for a book launch in April, got COVID and shifted to June," Mr Bird said.

Mr Bird said he wanted to thank the people of Dungog for the assistance they've given him throughout the process of authoring the novel.

Mr Bird has also written a series of other murder mystery books and science fiction novels under his alias SK Falconer.

On top of this, Mr Bird has written a series of children's book under his real name.

More information about SK Falconer and his books

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