‘She’s nervous,’ whispered the former army interrogator into my ear. ‘Look at her body language:  scanning the room; seeking the reassurance of eye contact with people she knows; the nervous chatter… I guarantee that afterwards she won’t remember a single thing she has said.’

Talk about getting my money’s worth out of the Crime Pays session at the  Brisbane Writers Festival.

Like everyone else in the State Library auditorium, I was there for crime writing tips from international best-sellers Lisa Unger and Gregg Hurwitz. But I also had the added bonus of Brisbane-based thriller writer JJ Cooper in my right ear.

JJ spent seven  of his seventeen years with the Australian Army working in the Intelligence Corps, and has just released his first novel, aptly titled THE INTERROGATOR. It’s fiction, of course. It had to be, what with the Official Secrets Act and all… I’d like to say more, but if I do, I’ll have to kill you.

It would have been clever programming to have JJ up on the stage with Lisa Unger and Gregg Hurwitz. After all, Lisa did blurb JJ’s debut novel and even made a point of introducing him to the audience during Q&A.

I would have loved to have seen the panel Chair, Inga Simpson, short-listed for this year’s Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Emerging Author, bounce questions off a local thriller writer as well as the visiting big-guns.

Interrogating the Interrogator – now wouldn’t that have been something?

  1. Josie Dietrich's breast blog says:

    Who was nervous? Was it Lisa Unger? JJ Cooper sounds interesting. I’d love to ask him some questions about his career. Do you think it’s odd that there was no emerging author picked this year in the Queensland Literary Awards? I want to know why. They had finalists, but didn’t choose any of them (odd I tell ya, odd).

  2. chrisbongers says:

    These lips are sealed. You can torture me, pull out my toenails, attach electrodes to my bits, but I’m not saying anything. Zip. Nada. Nuffing. And yes, I think it’s a great shame that they didn’t award an emerging author this year. 😦

  3. Joanna Gaudry says:

    I thought you meant JJ Cooper after reading that first line, Chris. I met him at his book signing last weekend. Of course I asked him if that was his real name (no, a pseudonym). All very mysterious. Lovely bloke. OK, well congrats all around for so many authors and soon to be published authors from Brisbane. Cheers. Joanna :))

  4. JJ Cooper says:

    Always good when an International Bestselling author plugs a local author’s book at a panel – especially when local author was ‘overlooked’ by festival organisers.

    It was great meeting you, Chris. The Crime Pays session was fantastic. Got to catch up with Gregg Hurwitz again after the QWC function and I’m having lunch with Lisa Unger tomorrow – very exciting.

    A session like that needs to be longer and allow more interaction from Joe Public IMHO. And, the ‘no-photos-in-the-auditorium rule’ is crazy. Make it a two hour session and allow photos with your favourite author at the end.

    Of course, a mix of Australian authors would have been good – there’s plenty of crime fiction writers around here to add to the conversation.

    More than happy to discuss my career with you, Josie – except the secret bits. And, after all of those years changing my name as an interrogator, Joanna, I don’t even remember my real name.

    Thanks for the mention in a great post, Chris. Look forward to catching up again soon.


  5. chrisbongers says:

    No worries, JJ. And I gotta say, for a bloke that doesn’t like wearing a suit, you looked pretty damn sharp on Thursday night. 😉

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