A Northland writer has apologised to the wife of a New Zealander presumed dead on the ill-fated flight MH370 after she took offence at a book he wrote based on the plane's disappearance.
Scott Maka, formerly of Kerikeri, released his novella MH370 on Sunday, three months to the day after the Malaysian Airlines jet vanished over the Indian Ocean.
Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul was on board, said she was disgusted by the book and shocked it had been penned by a fellow New Zealander. She said she wished people would put their effort into helping find the plane rather than "making up these stories about it".
Maka said he was "really sorry" for the distress his book had caused.
"I would like to publicly apologise to Mrs Weeks. I'm upset that she's upset."
He had not expected the families of those on board to hear about the book, let alone be distressed by it.
A reporter had told her about it and asked her opinion.
The 45-year-old, who now lives in Malaysia, said he was inspired to write the book after a frightening experience on a flight between Malaysia and Vietnam a week after MH370 vanished.
"I was damn scared. Flying doesn't usually bother me, but knowing that another aircraft had just vanished on the same flight path made me very, very jittery."
The scare got him thinking about possible causes for the jet's disappearance, and by the time his flight landed he had come up with a story he felt compelled to write down.
It took two months to write and another to edit and publish in e-book form. He described it as a twist-type thriller focusing on a passenger's involvement in an international intrigue.
Maka attended Kerikeri High School and worked in the Bay of Islands as an orchardist and beekeeper until 1994.
He trained as a journalist, working at the New Zealand Herald, Waikato Times and Bay of Plenty Times before heading overseas, initially to teach English. He returns regularly to Northland to see his relatives in Kerikeri and an 18-year-old daughter in Whangarei.
Maka has previously written a full-length novel, as yet unpublished, and another novella due for release as an e-book later this year.
Meanwhile, a new international crowdfunding campaign, Reward MH370: The Search for the Truth, was launched on the website Indiegogo yesterday.
The campaign offers $3.5million for information about the flight.