Darren Groth, author of Kindling, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |June 15, 2010

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Darren Groth,

author of this month’s “it book”


Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Brisbane and went to school at Marcellin College, Enoggera (it was closed not long after I left, but that’s purely coincidence) and Mount Maria College, Mitchelton (on Brisbane’s northside).

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Hmmm…Twelve, I wanted to be the next Greg Chappell (minus the underarm problem).  Eighteen, I wanted to be MUCH more attractive to the opposite sex.  Thirty? By that stage, I’d figured out I was a writer and I wanted to have success and be able to write more often.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That ‘hypercolour’ t-shirts were tres cool.

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?

There are lots of books, but one stands out: Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  My brother, Sean, got me to read it when I was in my late teens and it forever changed the way I thought about storytelling (I’m actually afraid to read it ever again because I don’t want to spoil the magic it holds for me).  Movie – The Usual Suspects. My favourite film of all-time, and, in my opinion, the finest cinematic use of the ‘unreliable narrator’ technique.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Well,  I’m pretty crap at every artistic avenue with the exception of the written word.  Actually, I’ll qualify that – I’m a prodigious karaoke performer.  Unfortunately, the medium is not so much about you telling stories but rather others telling stories about you.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel?

My latest novel is called Kindling.  On the surface, it is the story of an autistic boy who runs away to a suburban fire, and his widower father‘s attempts to intercept him before he gets there.  On a deeper level, it is a tale about nurturing the spark that resides within us all and fighting the flames that life sets in our path.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

First and foremost, I hope they find connection with the story and experience a meaningful emotional response to it.  In terms of ‘food for thought’, I hope they discover a little more reason to respect difference, and they take note of a portrayal of autism that challenges the media stereotype.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I admire many, many folks in the realm.  My brothers, Sean and Simon.  Fellow Queenslanders – Venero Armanno, Nick Earls, John Birmingham, Andrew McGahan – that inspired me in the formative days.  Nick Hornby, for his brilliance, his groundedness, and his parental connection to autism.  Ben Elton, for his fearless approach to creativity.  Tim Winton, Peter Carey, Annie Proulx, WP Kinsella, Stephen King, Marquez, JK Rowling…the list goes on.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To be a very good author.  And to go beyond very good as a husband and father.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The best learning experience I had as an emerging author was mentorship.  Find someone further up the literary food chain that will spend some time with you, share their experiences, combine honesty with positivity, and give you practical avenues to explore

Darren Groth, thank you for playing.

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