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 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I was primarily raised in the state of Florida and went to university there as well. I lived as an adult for 14 years in Los Angeles and that city is the place I write about. However, I have returned to Florida and live with my family there.
My father built houses and I wanted to build them, too, when I was twelve. When I was about eighteen or so I changed my mind. I loved reading crime novels and decided I wanted to write them. By the time I was thirty I was a newspaper reporter who still wanted to write crime novels.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That the truth alwaystriumphed.
Painting: The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
Music: Lullaby by Frank Morgan
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I was a voracious reader and while I loved films and painting, I thought the best way to express myself was through words.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
The Fifth Witness is a Mickey Haller novel. The erstwhile Lincoln lawyer finds himself defending people who are losing their homes to foreclosure in the economic crash. This leads to a criminal case when one of his clients is accused of killing the banker taking away her home.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
An empathic connection to the protagonist – in this case, Mickey Haller.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
I have a friend named George Pelecanos and I admire how he writes and what he chooses to write about. It seems to me that he never gives a moment’s thought to commerciality or political correctness. He writes what he wants, what comes purely from within. That is hard to do.
It sounds simple but it is a difficult challenge. I want to get better with each book I write. Since I am my own harshest critic, it is hard for me to appreciate any advances in craft or prose or character accomplishment.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Keep your head down and just write. Write everyday, even if it is only for 15 minutes. Keep the story always churning inside.
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.