A.J. Cootes began writing after his best friend, Greg Wilson, was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Greg’s ensuing battle with depression inspired the pair to co-author the artist’s biography, “My Brush with Depression” in the hope it would help others facing similar problems.
Growing up, A.J. loved movies and stories that encouraged both his imagination and altruism. The Star Wars films are his favourites. Dune by Frank Herbert, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and other books by Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway all left an indelible impression on the young man. Hemingway’s intrepid spirit inspired A.J. to seek out adventures of his own. Some of Cootes’ life highlights include: running with the bulls in Pamplona, camping at Everest base camp, surfing overhead waves at Cloudbreak reef in Fiji and standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. He is a qualified abseiling, caving, and skiing instructor and has also worked as a cruise director and whale-watching guide.
Today, he lives a quieter life on a farm in the Hunter Valley and is a director of the Greg Wilson Studio. He resides with his wife, Joyce, and inseparable friend and business partner Josie Wilson (collectively known as the Hippies on the Hill). He is happiest when he is writing, playing with his dog, Hemingway, and tending to his hens, led by Princess Layer, in the Cluckleberry Inn coop.
A.J. Cootes fertile mind will deliver six instalments in the Almythea franchise.
Artist rendering of costumes for live action characters.
Rise of Wingtar
The Battle for Our Souls
The New Kingdom
Three Will Fall and One Will Rise
Battle of the Ancients (prequel part one)
The 1,000 Year War Begins (prequel part two)
"Dedicated to my best friend, Greg Wilson. Over the last twenty years we were inseparable. I still can't believe you're gone. Thank you for teaching me that laughter and friendship are the best parts of any story.
Rest in peace brother.''
- A.J. Cootes