'Strong cheese' and vivid dreams help Christchurch 75-year-old write book

John Ferris with his book. Photo: Geoff Sloan
John Ferris with his book. Photo: Geoff Sloan
John Ferris, 75, was able to achieve a goal he never thought possible with the help of a Canterbury community group for the elderly.

It was about three years ago when the Ilam resident had an extremely vivid dream, which kick-started the idea for his book, Laura.

It is about an escaped criminal and a saviour’s journey around the South Island to find justice for her.

"Sometimes I have incredible dreams, if I eat strong cheese I will," Ferris said. 

"I had this dream about Laura, a runaway from prison and decided one night that I would type it up.

"I’m not very good at typing or writing but for some reason or another I kept writing."

After a long journey, Ferris’ book has now been published.

"You’ve got no idea what a lift it gave me to have a tangible copy, I’d never done anything like that, nobody in my family had ever written anything like that,” he said.

Ferris said he needed a push to get the book published, which is exactly what he got from the Selwyn SeniorNet.

Photo: Geoff Sloan
Photo: Geoff Sloan
The group is dedicated to helping people over 50 learn to use technology.

“I’d started going to the group and one day a member there, Tui Heighway, was looking through my computer and she said: ‘Oh what’s this, John’s story?’

“I said: ‘Oh it’s a book I wrote,’ and she asked if she could read it. She started and liked it and told me I had to print it.”

Ferris was able to enlist the help of editor and publisher John Clark to get the book printed.

The SeniorNet group also helped him with a cover and photos for the book.

“They helped me in a number of ways. It was a bit of a team effort, they came up with different photos and different bits of pieces. They’re very nice and helpful.”

He has not decided how to go about selling the book just yet, Ferris said.

“I still need some advice on selling it and that kind of thing.

“I have been selling a few copies but I haven’t really arrived at the right price yet.”






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