Five Facetious Questions
1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?
I used to move my books to more prominent places in the bookstore – like on top of James Patterson’s piles – when I was first starting out. Better yet, I trained all my relatives to do the same.
2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?
Find Hugh Jackman and convince him that he cannot live without me in his life?
3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)
Cheesy, I know, but I can’t NOT write. When I stop writing for a while it feels like a monkey on my back. The ideas just swim around my head, making me all cloudy and very crabby. I have to get this stuff out of me, or else it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. I think for me writing is a way to find answers to huge questions that I find myself mulling over as a mom, a wife, a woman.
4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’?
I haven’t really had an embarrassing writing moment, but I do have an embarrassing writer moment. I was at a spa, in a sauna, when a woman came in with one of my books and asked me if I was Jodi Picoult, and if I’d sign it. Needless to say, I did not have a pen on me. Good rule of thumb: If your favorite author is naked…wait till she’s clothed before you ask for her autograph!
5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?
Driving. I zone out and find myself organizing my plot or sometimes coming up with turns of phrase I want to remember. So I write them on my arm as I drive, because I lose pieces of paper, but I don’t lose my arm. I used to write on my kids’ arms too, sometimes, but they’re too old now and won’t let me!
Jodi, thank you very much 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.