The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Misery Bear’s Guide to Love & Heartbreak
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 a shop somewhere in London, England. I’m not sure which shop, and I’m not totally sure who my parents were. I was rescued from the shop by two men by the names of Chris and Nat, who I assumed were planning on assisting me in finding a better life. But no, they wanted to exploit me for financial gain. That said, I attended school, college and university in a short space of time (when you’re a teddy bear, you don’t go through the official channels) and got myself a job as soon as I could, so I could pay my own way. In spite of this, I’m still regularly exploited by my “handlers”.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
Happy, happy and happy. Still not achieved it yet. Oh, and a helicopter pilot. I would love to fly helicopters, but no-one will give me a licence to do so.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I believed that the world could dish out fairness and joy as equally as it could dish out sadness and tedium, but I was very, very, very, very wrong. It’s been weighted about 90/10 for me, with the 90 being sadness and tedium.
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?
Event one: finding out at a very young age that humans think of me as inferior. That had a profound effect on me that lasts till this day.
Event two: when I made my first short film for the BBC and my “handlers” took all the money, leaving me with barely enough to buy a sandwich. That hurt.
Event three: getting a kiss from Kate Moss. Need I say more?
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 a very well-read bear (I count Dostoyevsky, Roth, Dickens and Blyton among my favourite authors) so for me, the printed page is a thing of wonder and beauty which is in the blood (or fluff) of everyone that walks this lonely planet. I like new technology, for sure (I never go anywhere without my iPad, even though the screen has trouble picking up the movement of my paws) but I’ll never turn my back on books, and neither should anyone else.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Misery Bear’s Guide to Love & Heartbreak is a collection of my poems, letters, advice, cartoons, scripts, photos, stories, ex-girlfriends, bad dates, you name it. It’s pretty much the story of my romantic life so far, and it’s not afraid to tell it like it is: that love is one big carcrash of an emotion that’ll grind you down until you’re just a smushy lump of writhing fur and tears on the pavement. Oh, and it’s full-colour.
(BBGuru: The publisher’s synopsis –
Misery bear is a depressed and pathetic teddy bear (a bit borderline alcoholic with some anger issues). He has made people laugh and cry all over the world since he first appeared on the BBC Comedy website.
Here is MISERY BEAR’S GUIDE TO LOVE & HEARTBREAK (guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself) told in story and picture form from his own tear (and occasionally whisky) soaked paw.
Misery Bear’s life in love is the sorry tale of a loser. Friendless, except for Nat Saunders and Chris Hayward, who are helping him type properly on his iPad, Misery Bear’s collection of thoughts, stories, poems, photographs, cartoons, diary entries, top 10 lists, recipes, ruminations and illustrations from the plush paw of this loveable little critter, probably won’t help anyone succeed in love, but will make a lovely gift.
MISERY BEAR’S GUIDE TO LOVE & HEARTBREAK will be sad, funny, cute, caustic and constantly on the verge of a breakdown, much like its author.
About the Author: Misery Bear is the loneliest, saddest and drunkest bear in the world. He drinks too much, hates his job and can’t get a girlfriend. He lives in London and has just two friends, Nat Saunders and Chris Hayward.)
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
To remind humans that, despite their good points, they’re the things that are squeezing the life out of this planet. They should be more careful/polite/respectful.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
Princess Di and David Attenborough. You know why.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To find love, to settle down, to be treated like an equal with those I share this world with… Yeah, right. Like THAT’s gonna happen. Sigh.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Try not to be rubbish. I hate rubbish books.
Misery Bear, 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.