Peter Fenton never set out to write a book.
In fact, if the line "The boy who looks like a dugong stands at the shoreline willing the waves back to where they began" hadn't come to him during a daily commute, he wouldn't have a book at all.
But while that particular line seemingly came out of nowhere, the rest was taken care of by his Canberra childhood. In particular, the trips he would take post-Christmas to the South Coast.
The Days of in Between is partly lifted straight from his own life, and starts with Christmas in the "suburban village" of Woden Valley, before the yearly drive - complete with a midway bakery stop - to the South Coast.
"The whole idea of the book is being drawn to the coast," Fenton, who was also in 1990s band Crow, says.
"Our eyes collectively, as Canberrans turn to the starboard side and head east.
"It's a pretty amazing journey too and I was driving through it on the weekend and I had this weird realisation of looking at the bush and the landscape and realising that I was entering my own novel."
As someone who grew up looking forward to that set time of year when his family would take part in the mass exodus of the capital and travel to the coast, Fenton knows all too well the draw it has to Canberrans in the summer months.
Still, during his time promoting the recently released book, he has had people asking why he was drawn to write about it.
"In Canberra, if you were looking for a water body, there was the local swimming pool or there was Casuarina Sands or something like that, but also one of the foundation points of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin," Fenton says.
"How we enjoyed Lake Burley Griffin is that we'd wait for the ferries to go past and put our surfboards on the edge of the lake and the weight from the ferry would give enough sort of movement so that we could run up and jump on the surfboard.
"It was very much the epitome of cheap thrills.
"So the idea of the coast was no less than a profound one to experience."
But The Days of in Between is a children's book set decades before its target audience was born. It means while the readers may relate to the calling of the coast, the book is still "probably a bit science fiction" to them.
"There are no phones and you're pretty much a free rein entity - the idea was that you had to arrive back before the street lights came on and it's of another time," Fenton says.
"What's interesting is that going around and doing these talks, children are interested because of the story and they see it on its own terms but I enjoy that people of my generation who have a shared experience ... there's a lot in the story that you could file under 'disappeared Australia'."
- The Days of In Between, by Peter Valentine Fenton. Omnibus Books. $16.99.