Port Douglas retiree and great nephew of Bram Stoker writes Dracula novel

Who wrote Amazon’s Dracula?


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Richard Stoker has drawn on his family history for inspiration in writing his latest novel. Image: Newsport
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A couple of years after the standard retirement age, Richard Stoker retired from teaching at Tafe (Technical and Further Education) middle school. Before that he’d spent several years driving taxis so that as a single parent, he could start and stop work as needed. As a younger man he’d spent many years in insurance, mostly underwriting industrial risks.

Nathan and his wife Courtney relocated from WA to the Port Douglas shire in Queensland. They invited him to make the hyper-jump and join them. He accepted the challenge. At his older age, the shock of the new environment together with being unemployed, greatly impacted. At Tafe he’d written manuals for his students. Tafe WA requested that he continue writing for them. Having moved on, he declined.

Nathan, having played state level basketball, became involved in the local competition. His dad watched a few matches, wrote them up as they occurred and submitted them to Roy Weavers, the then principal of Newsport Publishing. Roy printed them and so Rick followed this up by writing a series of articles about people who’d made positive contributions to the local community. Roy also graciously printed these but Rick still had time on his hands.

In the late 1990’s the wreck of Australia’s first submarine to see military action, the AE2, was located in Turkish waters. It was dived upon and assessed, under the auspices of the Royal Australian Navy. This boat was part of the Gallipoli Campaign.

The AE2 only ever had one captain: Commander Dacre Stoker, Rick’s great uncle. Now with time on his hands, he got the idea of writing an historic fiction screenplay with the AE2 as its centrepiece.

On weekends with family and friends, Rick explored his new environment. Originally from Sydney, he’d never lived in a rainforest before and was fascinated by it. He tried to picture what the area would be like if despoiled and the image horrified him.

As a young 70 year old he took a bus from Venezuela, down through Brazil and into Argentina, checking-out the rainforests as he went. The already ‘well publicised’ damage was heartbreaking. He pondered what if anything, he could do about it.

At the very least he could write about it but how could he make it interesting. He recalled that his other great uncle Bram Stoker, had written the book ‘Dracula’ which included vampire bats. Vampires bats come from South America.

This was his angle. He could bring-forth the Dracula novel into the 21st century. He could also write a feature film screenplay from the novel and together with his AE2 script, seek an agent.

It was a long journey but Rick now has a Californian agent who produced two trailers from his screenplays and is currently pitching them to film producers.

According to Rick, the more books sold the more likely the movie – or both movies – will be produced as he will have added scriptwriting credibility. And since early in its career, the AE2 visited Cairns and helped convince the German Pacific Fleet to leave the waters around New Guinea, Far North Queensland is an ideal location in which to shoot parts of both scripts and that would be a dream come true for the writer.

The novel is available now, just in time for Christmas, at this link.


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