author of the Nanny Piggins series
Six Sharp Questions
1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?
My new book is called Nanny Piggins and the Daring Rescue is about Nanny Piggins having to fly to Vanuatu to rescue her employer who is being held against his will in a tropical paradise. I wrote it because I thought if I set a book in Vanuatu I would be able to take a holiday there and claim is as a tax deduction. Sadly, I had a baby instead and didn’t get to have a holiday anywhere.
2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?
3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.
I’m not very good at remembering the precise wording of quotes. I am handing in these answers a week late because I became bogged down by this one question. I do remember ideas and turns of phrase. But they are like fragments. It’s hard to explain why they have lodged in my imagination. Lately I have been thinking about an idea from Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset, in which Reverend Crawley who is struggling financially and in his faith meets a poor man in the street who tells him, “it’s dogged that does it.” It struck me as cryptic when I first read it five years ago, but lately I think I understand what Trollope means.
4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.
No, I am very easy to live with. I like cooking things like bread or jam just to make the house smell nice. When I need to work, I wait until everybody else is out of the house, then write like crazy until my brief window of peace and quiet comes to an end.
5. Some writer’s claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).
I am a professional writer. If my books did not sell in the marketplace I would have no money to pay the rent, which would make me very sad.
6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – because it is beautifully written and wise.
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.