Meet the Author: Tim Ecott
Neutral Buoyancy - adventures in a liquid world
Not so much the history of diving but tales of the characters and episodes along the way: the sponge divers, the second world war saboteurs, the free divers...all intermingled with the author's own underwater experiences.
What prompted you to write Neutral Buoyancy?
I was living in Seychelles -
helping the local radio station train its reporters and producers for two
years and about to return to London to rejoin the BBC when I realised that
I'd rather write for myself full-time. My wife supported the idea and
encouraged me to resign from my job and write even though I wasn't sure
what I wanted to write about.
You use quotes from various authors, scientists and divers - which
writers influenced you when writing the book?
That's hard to say,
everything you read has an impact. I've always read a lot of non-fiction
and it was a pleasure to sit in the British Library and trawl through any
reference to diving I could find. I suppose I was encouraged to find that
most of those who'd written about diving before had been concentrating on
the factual or historical side of the sport rather than the pure joy of
being underwater. Having said that William Beebe and Hans Hass did convey a
certain amount of wonderment.
Which of the stories did you most enjoy writing?
I enjoyed all of the
descriptive travelogue sections of Neutral Buoyancy, but it was an honour
to meet WWII veteran Dickie Greenland, Hans and Lotte Hass and Dottie
Frazier - the USA's first female diving instructor. And best of all they
have all said they liked what I wrote about them. I wanted to capture their
spirit as much as anything, and they are all very different sorts of
Which is your favourite dive?
Of those in Neutral Buoyancy probably any
of the ones in Papua New Guinea, but the climax of the book is a particular
dive in Seychelles.
Where would you like to dive next?
Manado or the Lembeh Straits I
suppose, but anywhere in the Pacific would be fine.
Do you have a worst diving experience?
Yes - read pp228-236 of Neutral
Buoyancy! I suppose I think every dive is potentially a good dive unless
you have an accident. I don't like diving with people who never consider
what can go wrong underwater.
What are you doing now?
I'm half-way through a novel, a love story this time. I've also got another
non-fiction project bubbling under, and I'm continuing with travel writing
and journalism for newspapers and magazines.
About the Book
I hope anyone who reads Neutral Buoyancy will enjoy it, and perhaps discover
something about diving they didn't know or hadn't come across before. So
far, people have reacted very positively to it, and although it is a book
you can dip into there is a subtle thread connecting everything together. I
suppose I hope people will respond to that and empathise with how I feel
about the sea, coral, fish, sea-cucumbers, dolphins, sharks etc etc. You
don't have to be a diver to read it, and I just hope it inspires more people
to consider taking up diving and acting as advocates for the preservation of
our marine environment.
You can buy Neutral Buoyancy
with free postage from
The Book Depository
Born in Ireland, Tim Ecott lived abroad a lot as a child because his father was
in the British Army. He went to University in Belfast and studied first
English, then Social Anthropology. After several jobs - including waiter, salesman and
bicycle courier - he started to work in the film business as a lowly
runner, producer's assistant etc. After applying for a tv job at the BBC he
was offered a job at BBC World Service, mostly because he'd worked in Africa on some
film projects. He reported on news from Africa for several years before
wangling a posting to Seychelles.
Tim is married to Jessica, who is also a keen diver. They have two small