The Delta, Far Horizon, Zambezi, African Sky, Safari, Silent Predator and Ivory.
Five Facetious Questions
1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?
While checking out an impressive line of my fourth book, Safari, on a shelf in a Sydney book shop I noticed an elderly lady inspecting the back of the book. I accosted her and offered to sign her book if she bought it. Eventually agreed. We walked together to the til, but were stopped by a sales assistant who the woman who had obviously been talking to earlier. The customer was looking for a book for a friend. “I’ve found some books your friend would like,” the sales girl said.
“No thanks,” said the customer, “I’m going to buy this book by Tony Park.”
The sales girl held up the top book from her stack (I won’t say what it is), and announced, “No, buy this book – it’s much better.”
After much shock and profuse apologies when the customer introduced me to the sales assistant she ended up buying the book and the shop asked me to sign another 10 copies!
Listen intently to what the A listers do for a living and how they drop hints about how much money they make. When they ask me what I do for a living I brace for their response… “I’ve always wanted to write a book, too…”
3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)
Because I didn’t do maths and science at school. If I did, I would have become an Army helicopter pilot. Seriously, because it’s all I ever wanted to do, all my life.
4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’? No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?
I was actually nude, once, writing and heard a knock at the door. I thought it must have been a Mormon or a parcel delivery or something so I wrapped a towel around me and opened the door just a little. It was a guy who had come to talk to me about donating some books to raise money for an African charity. I was so engrossed in what I was doing I’d forgotten I had an 11am appointment. Embarrassed, I had to tell him to wait a sec while I dressed!
5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?
When I’m drunk. I have a great idea and make a note of it on a coaster or serviette, stick it in my pocket, wake up the next day, check my pockets, read the idea and then screw it up and chuck it in the bin. I don’t have a plot and I let the ideas come to me as I am writing. That’s the only way to do it.
Tony, thank you for playing!
Tony Park’s latest Africa adventure novel The Delta will be released 1 August 2010
After a failed assassination attempt on the president of Zimbabwe, ex-soldier turned mercenary Sonja Kurtz is on the run and heads for her only place of refuge, the Okavango Delta in the heart of Botswana. She’s looking to rekindle a romance with her childhood sweetheart, safari camp manager Sterling Smith, and desperately wants a fresh start and to leave her perilous warrior lifestyle behind.
But Sonja discovers her beloved Delta is on the brink of destruction. She is recruited as an “eco-commando” in a bid to halt a project that willdestroy forever the Delta’s fragile network of swamps and waterways.
Soon Sonja finds herself caught in a deadly web of intrigue involving Sterling, the handsome Martin Steele – her mercenary commander, and a TV heartthrob and wildlife documentary presenter “Coyote” Sam Chapman who blunders out of the bush in a reality show gone wrong.
Instead of escaping her violent past, Sonja is now surrounded by men who are relying on her killer instincts to save the day. Where she came to find peace, she finds war… and it is not just the survival of the Delta that is at stake.
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.