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, raised and schooled on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. Hey that question wasn’t terrifying at all!
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
When I was twelve I wanted to be an author. When I was eighteen I wanted to be an author. In fact for most of my life I wanted to write books. There was a time in my teens when I thought I would like to be a movie director, but that’s a very difficult dream to achieve. (Although so is being an author!)
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That one day I would grow up and become a mature sensible adult.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
Dune by Frank Herbert; Teddy Edward to the Rescue by Patrick and Mollie Matthews; Les Miserables (The Musical).
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Let me think. Hmmm. I can’t paint or draw. I can’t sing, compose music, sculpt, or write poetry. So I guess it was a choice between novel-writing and pole-dancing. Novels won, but it was close.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Northwood is a junior novel, my first for a number of years. It is about a young girl who gets lost in a dark and mysterious forest. It is a light-hearted and fun adventure story, with fabulous illustrations by Donovan Bixley.
(BBGuru: Publisher’s synopsis:
The dark forest of Northwood has never seen the likes of Cecilia Undergarment before …
Cecilia Undergarment likes a challenge. So when she discovers a sad and neglected dog, she is determined to rescue him. No matter what. But her daring dog rescue lands her in deep trouble. Trouble in the form of being lost in the dark forest of Northwood. A forest where ferocious black lions roam. A forest that hides a secret castle, an unlikely king and many a mystery. A forest where those who enter never return.
But Cecilia is determined to find her way home.
No matter what.)
Apart from a copy of my next book? I hope that my books are emotional experiences for my readers. If I have made the reader feel something, then I have done my job well. With some of my books, especially The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, I also hope to make the reader think, either about the future, or the state of the world today.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Anyone who has managed to get published. It is a tremendous achievement. I could list all the writers I admire but that list would be too long for this interview.
I think my most ambitious goal would be a movie contract. Having a book made into a movie opens up the book to a much wider audience. Oh yeah, and you also earn a lot of money.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Be proud of your rejection slips. When I was an aspiring writer someone told me that you didn’t deserve to be published until you could wallpaper your bedroom with rejection slips. Aspiring writers need to regard rejection slips as stepping stones on the path to being published. Every time they get one they should say. “Great! I’m getting closer!”
Brian, 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.