A former Gunnedah man will be heading to Hollywood next month after placing in an international writing competition.
Michael Gardner only does writing as a hobby, but decided to enter a science fiction piece to the Writers for the Future competition to see if he could nab a spot on the writing course winners of the competition attend.
Months later, Mr Gardner found out he would be one of twelve other writers from across the globe to be honoured at the 36th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards, and have a place on the writing course.
"I joked with my wife that I would take her to LA so when I actually found out in October last year that I would I was a bit shocked to be honest, but I think my wife was a bit more shocked," Mr Gardner said.
Mr Gardner moved from Gunnedah in the late 1990s and is currently living in Canberra with his wife and children. Most of his family still reside in Gunnedah today.
He works as an economist and for the public service by day, and writes fantasy and horror by night.
The awards ceremony will feature speeches by various best-selling authors and illustrators, and will see Mr Gardner's winning entry in the annual anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers and Illustrators of the Future Volume 36, which will be released in April.
The Gunnedah native has bought previous editions of this book, and is looking forward to seeing his own in there and sold on international site Amazon.
"They're counting it as my first professional sale," Mr Gardner said.
I'll have to stick with my job for quite a while but this has given me enough of an incentive to keep the writing going.Michael Gardner
But he won't be quitting his day job just yet.
"There's only a few people who make a lot of money that can have writing as their only job," he told the NVI.
"I'll have to stick with my job for quite a while but this has given me enough of an incentive to keep the writing going."
He will fly out of Australia on March 27 then start the six-day writing course on March 29, before finishing up with the award ceremony.
For more information about the Writers for the Future competition and to see the awards ceremony online, visit the website.