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 and raised in Queensland. I spent a lot of time in country towns while I was growing up but ended up in Brisbane for high school and university.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
I had no idea what I wanted to be at any of those ages. I stumbled from opportunity to opportunity choosing only the option that gave me the most other options. At University I did law instead of medicine because I didn’t want to be locked into a single career.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That I was capable of drinking all night and not having a hangover the next day.
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?
The internet tech bubble (1995-2001) gave me a start in Technology and ultimately (when we sold out) the time to write my first book. The technology business also gave me to motivation to find a solution to my obesity (by making me fat in the first place – all those business lunches).
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?
Books are the only media which couldn’t care less about advertising. When everything you write attacks the business interests of the biggest advertisers in the market, it’s a good idea to go with a media that doesn’t care.
6. Please tell us about your latest book… Big Fat Lies
· Diets don’t work. The studies show that the best indication that we will be fatter in 2 years is being on a diet now.
· Vitamins are simply a way of producing expensive urine. The only measurable effect is on the size of your bank balance.
· Sugar is in everything, is highly addictive and is the root cause of most chronic diseases (such as obesity, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease).
· Polyunsaturated fat (think margarine and canola oil) makes us prone to cancers and helps sugar finish off the job on heart disease.
· The answer for good health is simple. Do not eat sugar or polyunsaturated oils and the rest will take care of itself. You will be thinner, healthier, happier and live long enough to annoy your children.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
The prohibition of the use of sugar and seed oils in the food supply.
Hard to pick one. My father in law Tony Morton has more medical degrees than you could poke a forked stick at. Even in his seventies he takes on new and ever more complex areas of interest. I think Paul Keating is admirable for his ability to take a long view, make a decision and stick to it. And Archie Cochrane’s dogged determination for medicine to be evidence based is truly inspirational.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
See #7 above and personally to be able to spend all my time writing about anything that interests me.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Practise. Writing is like anything else. The more you practise, the better you get. I reckon a blog is a great way to keep the machine oiled.
David, 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.