co-author of Sexpectations
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 & bred in Elizabeth (about an hours drive north of Adelaide, South Australia). I currently live in the outer southern suburbs of Adelaide.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At 12 – I had no idea. At 18 – gardener, for lack of an alternative & my dad was one. At 30 – social worker / counsellor / massage therapist – to provide a range of healing options
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That I could grasp the complexities of life
As a sexual health educator…
1. Becoming a parent at nineteen to twin two year old boys.
2. Having an auntie that was a counsellor.
3. Becoming aware of social inequality & prejudice and my role within that.
As a writer…
1. Being able to escape into books, finding that voice in the wilderness – finding that other people had similar thoughts – I guess that’s the goal of all art, to let us know we’re not alone.
2. Realising the power of language to make space or shut it down, to celebrate people or vilify them.
3. Valuing books in my family home – my mum was an assistant librarian… the pain of throwing perfectly good books out when I helped her cull.
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 was approached to write the book by Communicate Kids, but I love books, I think they’ll always have a place. I love the tactile nature of books, and given the sensitive nature of the book (sex / sexuality) it may be easier to find a safe place to explore this stuff rather than on the computer in the family home or library and books are easier to leave laying around for young folks to ‘find’… oh and I’m a technophobe.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Sexpectations aims to fill a few gaps in sexual health education. For too long sex ed has started & finished in contraception and sexually transmitted infections, if you were lucky you’d get some info on puberty but so much is still left out. Having said that there are a heap of amazing programs that address all these and more but there’s a lot of folks, young & old, that have missed out on some of the vital info. We hope to talk about sex in a healthy positive way, acknowledging the risks but also celebrating the pleasures of relationships, sex & sexuality.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be? Just one thing hey?
For folks to soak in their personal power instead of taking it from others
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
Live off the land & know where my food comes from
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Find a good editor, trust your gut but be open to the idea that you might be way off… and like me, don’t quit your day job!
Craig, 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.