A. J. COOTES
A.J. Cootes began writing after his best friend, Greg Wilson, was
involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Greg's ensuing battle with
depression inspired the pair to co-author the artist's biography, "My
Brush with Depression," in the hope it would help others facing similar
Growing up, A.J. loved movies and stories that encouraged both his
imagination and altruism. The Star Wars films are his favorites. Dune by
Frank Herbert, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures
of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and other books by Charles Dickens and
Ernest Hemingway all left an indelible impression on the young man.
Hemingway's intrepid spirit inspired A.J. to seek out adventures of his
own. Some of Cootes' life highlights include: running with the bulls in
Pamplona, camping at Everest base camp, surfing overhead waves at
Cloudbreak reef in Fiji and standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon in
Arizona. He is a qualified abseiling, caving, and skiing instructor and
has also worked as a cruise director and whale-watching guide.
Today, he lives a quieter life on a farm in the Hunter Valley and is a
director of the Greg Wilson Studio. He resides with his wife, Joyce,
and inseparable friend and business partner Josie Wilson (collectively
known as the Hippies on the Hill). He is happiest when he is writing,
playing with his dog, Hemingway, and tending to his hens, led by
Princess Layer, in the Cluckleberry Inn coop.