Mark Greenwood brings the unexpected and the unexplained to life in his new book series

Mark Greenwood is a history hunter. He enjoys searching for lost explorers and glittering treasure, delving into baffling mysteries and investigating famous cold cases. In this piece, he shares his passion for the unexplained and how that resulted in a new series of books.

Why these mysteries in particular?

I’m hooked on mystery, history and the search for the truth. I’m curious about the past and love sharing the stories that I find. My task as a History Hunter is to take readers on journeys of discovery – to search for lost shipwreck treasure (The Dragon’s Treasure) or to search for the truth (The Vanishing). The past is full of wonder and adventure. In the History Hunter series, I was determined to delve into all angles of each story so that readers could reach their own conclusions.

How did you approach the research for these books?

My research starts with the primary sources – the surviving remnants of the past, like a diary or a letter that has language, expressions or phrases used at the time by the people who were there. Researching secondary sources involves examining and interpreting other evidence – documents, books, newspapers and anything that contains traces of the past. Identifying the most important sources of information is the key. Research leads me to draw conclusions and make interpretations. The aim is to tell a gripping story. What happened, and why? What were the consequences, and why should we care?

What is the age group the books are aimed at and why do you think non-fiction is important for these readers?

The History Hunter series is recommended for readers aged 9–12+, but I hope the books will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Non-fiction books are important because they provide us with a context from which to understand a past time, place, person or event. My aim for the series was to offer interesting or unusual facts and provide readers with access to engaging true stories that become a springboard for deeper study and learning.

You’ve started talking about the books in schools. What has been the feedback from students thus far?

The feedback from students and teachers for the first two books in the series has been overwhelmingly positive. In presentations and workshops, the creative writing prompt ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ has generated some surprising, imaginative, intellectual and highly original responses.

What to you is the greatest mystery of all?

I love sharing the wildest, coolest stories from history that I can find. In 1978, Frederick Valentich found himself in an extraordinary situation that sparked one of Australia’s most enduring cold cases and prompted us to ask ourselves if we are alone in the universe. That great mystery has intrigued humankind for centuries. We look to the stars and wonder if life exists in faraway galaxies. I was drawn to the story of The Vanishing to seek some answers!

The Vanishing and The Dragon’s Treasure are available now in all good bookstores and online.

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