Being a writer makes a virtue of my bad habits. I was a shocking liar as a kid, but now that I’m an adult, I’m using my powers for good rather than evil.
Q. If that’s your virtue, what’s your secret vice?
A. Turkish Delight and writing something that makes me laugh or cry out loud. Now that’s addictive.
Q. How long did it take you to write your first novel Dust?
A. Way too long. I did everything wrong in the first draft and had to pull the whole thing apart and start again from scratch. It taught me a lot though and I hope never to make any of those 147 basic errors again.
Q. What was the motivation for writing your first novel?
A. Long story. I’ve devoted a whole page of my website to the answer so Click this link On writing Dust if you haven’t already. It’s for everyone who loves writing and loves their Dads.
Q. What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
A. Don’t give up after the first draft; the real writing starts with the rewrite. Write every day – the more you write, the better you get. Join organizations like the Queensland Writers Centre. Do courses, be prepared to learn from other writers and never be afraid to show people your work. QWC workshops I did with Veny Armanno, Kim Wilkins and Kate Eltham taught me things that I may never have been able to figure out for myself.
Q. Do you have a pet hate?
A. Advertising – it’s horrible that people are manipulated into wanting a whole heap of stuff they don’t need.
Q. Who are some of your favourite authors?
A. Peter Temple – he’s probably going to hate me saying this, but I just love all his early work, the Jack Irish novels, Iron Rose and Shooting Star – he just nails dialogue and the Australian vernacular. In YA, I am a big fan of Marcus Zusak and Melina Marchetta, and Karen Foxlee’s debut novel The Anatomy of Wings is just wonderful. Ditto the Mallory detective novels by US writer Carol O’Connell and the Jackson Brody novels by British writer Kate Atkinson.
Q. If you were an animal, what would you be?
A. I’m a fool for my dog, Huggy, but have to say that personally, I’m more of a cat – I have the requisite laziness, attention to personal hygiene and tendency to bite if rubbed up the wrong way!