- GUEST AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an Australian author who has been busy writing.
Welcome, Darryl ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I began writing seriously in the early 1990s when I was living and working in London. Until then I had a hankering to write but kept telling myself I couldn’t. Eventually I convinced myself I should at least try. At first, I managed to get published – and paid – for about a dozen or so of my articles in British and International magazines. When it was time to try my hand at writing a novel, I sat at my computer, wrote a title, then a line, then another line until I eventually had what could loosely be termed a novel, though after hawking it around for a while and getting the inevitable comments from agents and publishers, I binned it. When I started on my next book, The Election, a political thriller, I’d learned a lot from my experience on the first. It ended up, I think, being a great story but I still couldn’t get published. Years later, I decided to self-publish that novel.
For my next novel, Calvus, a historical thriller, I secured a publisher, Morris Publishing Australia. They eventually went out of business so I republished a second edition as a self-published author. Following that, I secured a three-book publishing deal with Custom Book Publications, Hong Kong and they published Agnus Dei and Sleeping With Angels, both of which are legal thrillers, and A Dragon In The Snow, a general thriller. As I was not entirely satisfied with how my books were being promoted, I decided to return to self-publishing for my sixth novel, Bounty last year. This year I published a memoir, …Passing Through… and since then I have been focusing on online marketing of all my books. Just for fun, in the background I’m grappling with the script for an eight-episode television drama series.
2. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love the research. I also love the way it takes you away from your day to day problems and disappointments and deposits you in another place.
3. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
4. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was a solicitor. During most of the time I was in the U.K. I was a commercial litigation lawyer, in various City and Central London law firms, at partner level. In 2004, I semi-retired and returned home to the Gold Coast where, for the next ten years before I finally retired, I operated a consultancy litigation practice assisting other law firms.
5. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Getting six novels and a memoir into print. I guess I am a little proud of my latest novel, Bounty. Because a lot of it is set in the Middle East, including Lebanon where I have never been, it did take years of research to put it together.
6. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Another novel which I am calling Zeno, a sequel to Calvus. It is set in first century Rome, Phoenicia, Galilee and Judea.
7. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Things I’m passionate about. For example, Calvus is partially set in the first century in Roman times and I’m fascinated by the ancient Romans. Bounty, as I have said, is set in the Middle East, another region in which I have a deep interest.
8. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I break the rules a little and don’t always limit myself to the one genre. Given the “write what you know” rule I should always write legal thrillers. As I have said before, I have written many books that do not fall into that genre.
9. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
If they’re passionate about writing, don’t ever give up, no matter what comments they get from agents and publishers.
10.DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
11.DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No, though when I was working as a lawyer, I had to work around that and, as you can imagine, that was a bit challenging.
12.DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I’m somewhat limited—I have to write at my computer in my home office.
13.WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Getting positive reviews and readers’ comments.
14.WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I find it difficult to restrict myself to just one, given the myriad of great authors out there but the author whose books I believe I have read the most is David Baldacci.
15.WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
“It’s absolute brilliant. It gripped me from the very beginning.” I love readers to tell me my book is a page-turner. That’s what I set out to write.
16.WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
“Well, I have to say I enjoyed the read...” That was as much as I could get out of her and she was my literary agent at the time!
17.WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
18.OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Reading, cinema, theatre, music, walking.
19.DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I did have The Election professionally edited and, of course, the books produced by publishers were edited. Recently, I have tried to self-edit. I hope I haven’t let myself down.
20.DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
It would start with a phone call from a producer wanting to buy the rights to my television series; then around lunch time I’d get the call to tell me the foreign rights of my novels have been sold to various overseas publishers; around dinner time I’d get the call from Steven Spielberg!
21.IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Until her passing in 2018 it would have been my wife. She’s was my No. 1 fan.
22.WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Give peace a go.
23.WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To keep working as long as I can and, of course, to continue writing.
24.WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
As A Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson.
In The Company of Strangers by Awais Khan.
Preying In Iran by Eric Weitz.
(I deliberately omitted my own books for obvious reasons!)
25.DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes. Good and bad.
26.DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
27.DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
28.WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Bounty because of the enormous amount of research required.
29. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Being able to live on one’s writing.
30.WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
How much has gone into writing it. Hopefully, they’d feel elated.
31.HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A considerable amount of thought went into designing the covers of my novels, though I did not do the graphic artistry myself. I knew what I wanted and others brought my ideas to life.
32.WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be a very successful, full-time writer.
33. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Marketing is the most difficult thing about writing. Getting your book onto Amazon’s site is one thing but making it stand out from millions of titles is another. I find that starting small, giving author talks at libraries and clubs is a good way to start and, since Covid-19 raised its ugly head, online marketing.
Clancy's comment: Well done, Darryl. You have come a long way since book one, and certainly put in the hours.