Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
Born in Coventry, England, raised in nearby Birmingham, England – a huge manufacturing city – schooled there and then at Sheffield University.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve, loved. At eighteen, laid. At thirty, paid. Because basic necessities always seemed important.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I had no strongly held beliefs – still don’t … I’m open to experience and constant verification.
4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
Da Vinci’s Last Supper (great talent, poor application, both instructive), John D Macdonald’s The Lonely Silver Rain (my introduction to a seminal series), Led Zeppelin’s first album (taught me that not being first into a genre doesn’t hurt.)
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Actually very few artistic endeavours are open to me – I have no aptitude for most of them. Words on the page are all I can do.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
A sense of satisfaction, that their time was well spent.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Anyone who produces a good solid book once a year.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
My goal is relatively modest – to please most of the people most of the time.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Ignore all advice. There’s room for only one mind on your side of the transaction, and it needs to be yours and yours alone.
Lee Child, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.