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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Interview: Neven MacEwan talks about When the Crowd Stops Roaring

New Zealand rugby union player Neven MacEwan played 52 matches for the All Blacks from 1956 to 1962, including 20 internationals and two South African Provincial matches as captain. In this frank and inspiring memoir, Neven talks about his early life, and his extraordinary success as a rugby player. But this is not just a memoir of rugby achievements; Neven talks frankly about the difficulties in his life ‘when the crowd stops roaring’ and the reality away from the rugby field. Neven talks to NZ Booklovers.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I got into trouble with the law to survive I had to sell all my rugby memorabilia, including all my rugby jersey that I had collected over the years. When I was selling my last All Black jersey my third son Angus in tears said to me "You can't do this Dad!" I took him aside and explained to him that we needed the money to keep the family together and he understood what I told him. He was 16 years old at that time. 26 years later Angus tracked down one of my All Black jerseys I had given away in 1974 and in 2005 Angus took me to Wales to be honoured by the club that had displayed the jersey for 31 years. My son united me with my past rugby achievements and so began the book to tell the generations of MacEwans to come about their heritage.

What was your routine or process when writing this book?

It was a process of planning and recalling stories of my life that were important to the overall story of the family and the journey of my life. It was a work that took 14 years to complete as writers added to my story and selected the important aspects of my life's journey to make an interesting read. To cover historical events, New Zealand social and family culture of the time. From the wealth of experiences and stories it was important to balance the book with the good the bad and the ugly because life is not easy it sometimes turns really bad and often unexpectedly. The book needed to say how bad it got but had to be balanced with the hope of new beginnings and a real life found within ourselves through faith. I tried to work two hours a day. I had times when I gave up. But then something would inspire me to start again a word of encouragement from a person I had helped in their journey of life or a study from reading God's word that lifted my desire to keep going.

If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.

"Just Show Me How To Love You" Sarah Brightman, London Symphony Orchestra and Jose Cura:"Time to Say Goodbye" Sarah Brightman and Andrae Bocelli: "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4" by Elgar: "Fall On Me" Matteo Bocelli and Andrae Bocelli: "Dam Busters March".

What did you enjoy the most about writing this memoir?

That there is something in it for everyone. The story of my rugby jerseys given away and how they returned home 31 years later is the story I appreciate. The modern day "prodigal" story.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope the challenge comes through this story, that life isn't easy and that we all need Hope, Love and Faith. The true Faith is in a Loving God and our Hope is in Him. That we need to be careful about our choices and take responsibility for them and our actions.

What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

Gave a big sigh of relief and now waiting to see how it is received by the readers.

What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

"The Bible" is the only book I have read this year. I need this book to study and meditate for guidance and sustenance for my soul. The word never ages, it is relevant for today and will for the future.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

No commitments at this time other that to expand my website into a wider market and expose my thoughts and inspirational readings which are posted daily.

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