Meet the Author: Ron Ward

RON’S TOP WRITING TIP:  Don’t hesitate, get on with it, getting started is hard, but if you are any good you’ll find the words can flow very easily.

Ron Ward is an authority in the combination of engineering, management and industrial safety, spending most of his working career as an engineer in the chemical industry. For more than a decade before his retirement he was a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. Ron has published more than 130 papers and three books on engineering so is no stranger to writing. A Project in Ammonia is the first novel in his debut fiction series.


Why do you write? A principal reason for writing these novels is to give the general reading public some grasp of what goes on in engineering work.

Another reason for writing stems from a road accident injury over 60 years ago, which injured and severely damaged one leg, and required surgery on the other to repair the damaged one.  That was September, 1949, significant because if that hadn’t happened there’s reasons to believe I’d have finished apprenticeship and stayed at the trades level.  I doubt I would have finished the STC diploma, continued to the BE at UNSW, enrolled at Macquarie for the MBA program, returned to UNSW for a PhD, and through those 50-or-so years moved from trades-level to management.  And, of course, picked up the art of writing.

In the last few years my mobility has decreased. I can walk, but I cannot play active sport, so writing has become “sport” keeping at least my mind actively mobile while my legs take-it-easy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I suppose I’d just loaf around and read a lot.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a publisher was very hard. I think my general topic (engineering and management at some future time, related to a prison-colony world) didn’t register with any of them.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Holding and flicking through a handful of paper and knowing: “This is mine.”

—the worst? Finding time to get on with what’s simmering in my mind, the next step in my output.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I can’t see any possible alternative path, given my circumstances at the time.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If wishes were horses beggars would ride, so my answer to this question is: I have neither wishes nor horses.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I can’t think of any advice I’ve been given.  I confess to being something of a loner, possibly so by loss of parents at a very early age, so I’ve blundered along working out my own life.


book100A Project in Ammonia

R. B. Ward

What happens when an unlikely group of four people – two Australians, one English and one French-Israeli – fight their way through the bureaucratic maze of their employer in a futuristic world so different, yet eerily familiar to our own? The Chief Executive has realised the firm needs rejuvenating and has sent the group to a long-distant colony to build and operate a fertiliser factory. As the group work towards their goal, they battle against the company directors who persistently do what they can to upset the exiles’ work.
How will they resolve the drama at Muddy River Bay?

The book is available here.

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