Robert Schofield, author of Heist
Tell us about your latest creation…
HEIST is the story of Gareth Ford, an engineer working on a remote gold mine in Western Australia. Left for dead in the desert, framed as the inside man in a bullion robbery at the mine, and fearing that his daughter and ex-wife have been abducted from their home in Perth, Ford has to cross a thousand miles of wilderness to find his family, pursued by crooked cops, murderous bikies, and heavily armed mercenaries.
Where are you from / where do you call home?
I was born, raised and schooled in the suburbs of Manchester, England, and studied at Cambridge before spending some years travelling. I stopped moving when I got to Perth at the turn of the century, and have been raising a family here ever since.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?
I came to writing late in life. I grew up with a talent for science and mathematics, did a degree in engineering and have been working as a chartered engineer all my life. Writing was just something I did to keep a restless mind busy, and I never thought it would be anything more than that.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?
That one’s easy for a debut author: my current book is my first, and most definitely my best.
I tend to write on the run. I have a full-time engineering job, and three young kids, so I carry a notebook and a laptop and write whenever and wherever I can. I have a shed at the bottom of the garden where I can occasionally shut out the world to write, but it is also home to my scooter and is full of bikes and tools, as well as piles of books, so I’d say it was on the chaotic side.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?
Most of my reading time is taken up with non-fiction research for my next book, but I try to read some fiction too to inspire me. I am an omnivorous reader, happy to pick up anything, but I read a fair bit of crime fiction, and like the great Americans: Elmore Leonard, James Crumley, George V. Higgins.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?
I was also a broad reader at school. I couldn’t pick a defining book or books, but as a teenager I was reading Hesse and Vonnegut, and had a fascination with Zola.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?
My favourite literary character is Tom Ripley, but I’m not sure I would ever want to be a sociopathic murderer. But then again, he never got caught…
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?
What spare time? Full-time job, three kids, novels to research and write, I’m lucky if I get to turn on the TV. But I do have a vintage Vespa scooter, and if I get a spare hour I start her up, put my face to the wind, and ride until my head is clear.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?
A lamb roast, potatoes and pumpkin and whole roasted garlic on the side, a bottle of Moss Wood cabernet, and a tarte tatin to finish. Then maybe a nice malt whisky, maybe something from Campbeltown.
Who is your hero? Why?
I have never been one for hero worship. I believe we are all flawed individuals just doing the best we can. There are people I love, and there are people who have certain characteristics that I admire, but I’ve never had a hero.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?
The continual encroachment of the 21st Century: expanding work hours, TV, internet, social media, smartphones, and all the other inconsequential noise that bombards us, means that we seldom get the space and peace to sit with a book.