You don't need to talk to Annie Boyd for long to discover she has a restless imagination.
The author of Koombana Days, a book which traces the colourful stories of those whose fates became inextricably entwined with the demise of the SS Koombana, includes civil engineering and inline skating among her professional careers.
"I did decide when I was about 20 that my life was to have 50 careers in 50 years - and I'm actually pretty close," she said.
"A few of my friends said 'we thought you could do anything but we didn't think you'd write a history book'."
The SS Koombana disappeared during a cyclone in March 1912 with an estimated 156 people on board.
Only two life boats and a cabin door were ever recovered from the steamship, which was making its way from Port Hedland to Broome, despite eight separate searches commissioned to scout for the wreckage.
Boyd said her journey to document the personal stories of those who went down with the 3668-tonne ship was a personal obsession.
"Someone mentioned Koombana and I thought 'this is too big to be missing', and I just got hooked on the story," she said.
"I wanted to put a story out about the lives of the people on board because it really was a microcosm of WA and a fantastic time.
"It deals with all the issues of the day - religion, politics, Aborigines, race and industrial relations - it's a whole collection of essays about life in the North West, and Koombana is just the thread that holds them all together."
Boyd said after taking 10 years to write the book, she no longer felt finding the wreckage was at the top of a list of her priorities.
"I'm still interested to find the wreck, but I actually don't think it's that important anymore - I think sometimes we overplay the symbolism - I think the real thing is this fantastic story and it should be better known," she said.
"We like to think that life should be perfect now - and people in early WA never had any illusions about life being perfect, and they didn't try and make things neat and tidy the way we do now."
Boyd will be in Port Hedland for a North West book launch on Thursday, March 20, at 6pm.
The event is open invitation from the Port Hedland Historical Society.
Boyd will then travel to Broome for an author evening at the library on Wednesday, March 26, and on to Derby Library on Thursday, March 27.
The final date on her Koombana tour will be at the Karratha Library on Thursday, April 3.