- Guest Author -
Today, I interview an author who originally came from the UK to settle in Australia.
Welcome, Tony ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I began writing HF novels as soon as I finished teaching in the early eighties
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I became a writer because I loved certain genres and learnt so much from them. I wanted to emulate the best and bring the people of history to life
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I tend to do great amounts of research, and gradually plot lines develop that I often card up in the manner of a film treatment.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Getting to know my characters and sharing their feelings with my readers
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Making yourself get up and go to the 'office'
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
A commercial oddbody and then a national service man, from which I fell in to teaching
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
My seven novels, and my prize winning play, 'Honest John'.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Several drama doco's and a series of books for children entitled 'The Gum Tree Creek Mob'.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The desire to make people love books.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Mainly HF, but I have written a number of plays, many of which have historical characters who seem to have been somewhat forgotten, like Sir Douglas Mawson
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Love your characters and don't resist the need to rewrite copiously.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Very rarely, thank God
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No! Do it when the nascent book calls to you.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
In my study/bedroom so I can collapse on the bed when necessary
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
To hear someone say, 'I couldn't put it down, Tony'.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
CS.Forester, maybe, but if I love the book then I love the author.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
Like I said, 'I just could not put it down'.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I got a bit confused with the movement from place to place.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Without a doubt. In 'Halfway Human' I derived great inspiration from my work with a man in prison who wanted to write a play.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Music and live theatre.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
No, but my e publishers in Arizona have always checked the work before publishing.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Sitting a market where I am doing hands on selling and just talking about my and other people's books
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
James Michener whom I had the great pleasure of meeting once.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Do all you can to encourage children to read and talk about good books.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To get my work on film or TV and get my children's books out there.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
What's a book trailer?
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Maybe, but they are often much more interesting than me.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
It does actually frustrate the hell out of me.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Sometimes, but then I think of all the joy I have had from books over the years
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I think it was my novel on the blackbirders, 'The Far Side of the Reef', closely followed by my play on Mawson, 'Ice'.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
The knowledge that thousands of people have read and enjoyed your work.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
They should feel that they have come to know the characters and have real empathy for them, even the villains of the piece.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
Only if the film maker shows respect for my work. And Yes I have.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
My wife designs many of my book covers and I think she does a fantastic job. But now I see that the writer's name should be there in big letters, since many readers choose the work of their favourite writer.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To win the Boooker prize
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Sure is hard work! But one should try to market in as many different ways as possible. Also, new writers could do with much more help from the arts gurus of all states.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Somewhat obsessed, but pleasantly persistent.
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Vampires, werewolves and zombies.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
The Boy Under the Table, by Nicole Trope
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Damn this computer; it keeps making mistakes
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
A growing number of readers who really enjoy my books.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Nope, don't think so; I believe I've said it all