Tell us about your latest creation:
Ned Kelly. It is written in the form of a novel, but – with 2000 footnotes – is all true. I want readers to not only read the story, but actually feel like they are IN the story. It is a staggering tale that has fascinated Australians for over 130 years, and I wanted to do it in an entirely different fashion.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
A writer, a Test cricketer, a Wimbledon winner, Prime Minister and even astronaut.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
My book on the shipwreck of the Batavia is probably the book I would put on my tombstone. It is the best yarn in the history of the world – but Ned Kelly runs it close!
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I am nomadic. Sometimes in the study, often on the coach, always on long-haul flights and if being driven for long distances.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
Frankly, I am mostly writing. And when reading, I tend to read extensively on the subject I am writing about. Beyond that, however, I love Dickens, Hunter S and sometimes Beevor.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
Great Expectations. It took my breath away that writing could be so real. If you were a literary character, who would you be?: Pip, from Great Expectations. But I would go harder trying to get Estella to love me.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I play a lot of tennis, a lot of touch football, a lot of basketball. I go to our farm and muck around with our kids.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Steak and too much white wine.
Who is your hero? Why?:
Muhammad Al. Because of his physical and moral courage.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
Getting the younger generation to put down their iPads and iPhones and take up a book.
Twitter URL: @Peter_Fitz