PROLIFIC author Tim Winton's bedside table has "a lot of dust" on it.
Remaining busy though, Mr Winton was in Mackay with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) on his first visit solely for conservation.
In awe of the Great Barrier Reef, he is in the region celebrating 50 years of the AMCS.
"It began in 1965, on the reef when it was about to become a limestone mine," Mr Winton said.
"They fought the fight to protect it and that led to the reef becoming a world heritage site and now, as we know, the most important natural tourism site in Australian."
MORE ENVIRONMENT NEWS >> 120 jobs to come as Abbot Pt expansion begins
A West Australian, Mr Winton said the region needed to protect its natural wonders.
"Queenslanders are proud and think they know what they've got," the AMCS patron said.
"But honestly, they don't know how lucky they are. It's a beautiful landscape and fertile country. You have one of the Seven Wonders of the World offshore."
At any time, Mr Winton had "three desks going" for his writing but the chaos suited him, he said.
"It's at the end of a book that I know what exactly I wanted to do," he said.
"Mostly, I've written books about people in small communities trying to figure out their lives."
"When I meet Whitsunday residents, I think (they) are just like people from my books."
>> Grab this Saturday's Daily Mercury, where Tim Winton talks fishing, footy, conservation and writing with journalist Luis Narvaez.
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