TALK about being busy.
In the midst of moving from Sydney to Bathurst with his family last year, writer James Knight decided to take things up a notch by starting work on a book as well.
The result of the "intense" nine months that followed, Back On Track, which tells the story of an Armidale youth program that is saving lives, has just made the long list for the Indie Book Awards, which has a history of picking bestselling winners.
It's a source of quiet satisfaction for Knight, who admits he was consumed by the story as he tried to pin it down on the page.
"When you're doing something like this, you live it," he said. "I lived it for nine months.
It's a bit like running a marathon - you cross the finish line or you get the book and you think, yeah, the work's worth it.
"It can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes you don't see an end. There were times there when I thought, why the hell am I doing this?
"But it's a bit like running a marathon - you cross the finish line or you get the book and you think, yeah, the work's worth it."
Back On Track tells the story of Bernie Shakeshaft, whose BackTrack program takes teens who are on their last chance and pairs them with working dogs to help them get their life back in order.
"Bernie is one of the most incredible people I've ever met," Knight said.
"He's self-taught, so he doesn't have a string of letters after his name, but he's got a vision and he's got a wisdom and he's got a way with these kids that is extraordinary.
"So I had faith in it [the book], but as with any book now, it's the X-factor and you just never know."
Mr Shakeshaft's methods - through the exposure gained by the book and a documentary that was released in 2018 - are being taken up elsewhere.
"There are all these little hybrid satellite programs beginning where people have picked it up in their communities and are running with it," Knight said.
"So many [other youth programs] have a use-by date - okay, boy comes in, 16 weeks later they go out the other end, tick a box.
"But here, one of the mottos is you can't get kicked out of BackTrack. So he's [Mr Shakeshaft] got kids who have been in the program for years and they are still a work in progress and that work is basically inch by inch by inch."
IN OTHER NEWS AROUND BATHURST:
Knight, who is a Gunnedah boy and an ex-Mitchell College student, said the busyness of Sydney convinced he and his wife Clare to make the move across the Blue Mountains.
"We were living on the north side and Clare was working in the city - three hours a day travel.
"With a young fellow, Iggy, we thought we want to get some time back.
"Clare started looking for jobs and very early on got a job at Marathon Health."
Knight still travels to Sydney for work - conducting storytelling workshops in schools and providing media and communication training in corporate workplaces - but says life in Bathurst is working out well.
"It's early days, but it's nice to be part of a small community again," he said.
The shortlist for the Indie Book Awards will be announced on January 15.