The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Eat, Spray, Love
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 and raised in Sydney, I am an autodidact. In fact most of what I know I figured out for myself. I find that if you observe life and its inhabitants closely, you can learn a lot about the world, even if your world is a small one.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
I’m now two and a bit so I can’t say, although at this point in my life I am exactly what I want to be: a perfectly satisfied house cat who has achieved enlightenment within the safe haven of my own apartment.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
Well, at eighteen weeks I thought the secrets of the universe were only to be discovered in exotic climates and on foreign shores, and now I know we hold the great secrets within us.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
One was my first trip to the vet (was the thermometer up the bum really necessary?) and a close encounter with a shitzu (accent on the ‘shit’) which made me realise life on the outside isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Second was coming across Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence—the one that begins with the lines, ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wildflower’. He inspired me to embrace life’s simple pleasures and understand the large through the small.
Third was seeing my flatmate get a book published. I mean if she could do it, I certainly could. And I was right.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?
I’m an old fashioned feline and I actually like the smell of paper and the feel of the fan of pages as it glides through your paws. The paper is also good to chew on, and once you’ve read the book (if you’re not adding it to your library or passing it on to a friend) you can tear off pieces, and once they’re scrunched up they’re great to play fetch with.
Eat, Spray, Love is a celebration of life’s simple pleasures and a response to Elizabeth Gilbert’s charming ode to international air travel and the scattergun approach to dating, Eat, Pray, Love. As one who likes to keep her carbon paw print small and who is also highly selective when it comes to romance, I realised I could help others to find joy and wisdom without ever leaving home.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
My flatmate and fellow author, Joan Sauers, who typed my manuscript and because on a deep and meaningful level she gets me. [Nota bene, she made me say that.]
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To find enough time in the day to eat, sleep and lick myself. Isn’t it fabulous that things that feel so good also have practical functions?!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Listen to your heart. And get someone else to do the typing.
Blossom, 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.