Tell us about your latest creation:
It’s a powerful, thought -provoking and action-packed thriller set in the lawless wilds of the Congo. A Savage Garden takes you inside the Congo’s secret wars and one man’s battle to save the child soldiers who fight them. I’m originally from Brisbane…about a bazillion years ago. I’ve lived in New York, London, Paris and Singapore but Sydney has been home for many years.
I’m originally from Brisbane…about a bazillion years ago. I’ve lived in New York, London, Paris and Singapore but Sydney has been home for many years.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
I always wanted to be a doctor but I sucked at things like maths and science and excelled at English. I guess it’s little wonder that I’m writing these days.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
Convention would have me say that my next book will be my best work but I think that nice little book set in a Boston mental hospital that I wrote about five years ago will find a voice one day…every story has its time.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I write in my office at my advertising agency. It’s packed with about 30 years of memorabilia…which is a handy euphemism for ‘mess’…but it’s my mess….and there’s some good stuff amongst it. By contrast, my desk is pristine.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I read just about everything from the back of the cornflakes packet to the Quran (which I’ve just read as research for my next book). The only genre I avoid is SciFi. My favourite book of all time is A Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry…you gotta read it!
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
The first proper book that I remember ie no pictures, was My Compass Points to Treasure by Lt. Harry E Rieseberg which was given to me as a prize for topping a temperance exam…go figure. After that Shakespeare’s work kind of got hold of me but that may have been because my father was a Shakespearean actor.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
I was asked this question the other day and I said that I’m a combination of Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, Jay Gatsby and Atticus Finch…which for all you amateur psychologists probably means that I like roughing it but like the finer things in life and a good argument.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I compete in ultra marathons (50-100kms) which probably means that I’m totally insane.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
I trained in Paris for 2 years as a chef so I’m a bit fussy but I like fresh produce cooked simply that lets the real flavours shine through. Drinkwise, I’m partial to red. I remember once being given a forty year old Chateau Mouton Rothschild and putting it down to drink on some special day but I got home one night, ordered a pizza and drank it. Tres decadent.
Who is your hero? Why?:
I had a very mixed relationship with my father. We didn’t really get on but years after he died I had my own kids and I got to wondering how he ever managed to bring up the me and my 4 brothers and sisters when there was never any money in the house. He’s my posthumous hero.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
The next generation of readers will be used to consuming the written word in small bites. News reporting is going that way, web sites are doing the same thing and blogs are getting sharper and sharper…I’ve even made the chapters in my new book short and sharp and almost self-contained so that people can bite it off in manageable chunks. The future of the printed book? I still prefer paper to a tablet but things change and I think that generational predilections will take care of that in time. As hard copies of school books disappear so will ‘paper’ books. It will be a shame, but it will happen.