author of My Greek Island Home
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 in Sydney, Australia
2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?
At 12, I wanted to be a fashion designer. My Mum always made fabulous clothes for me and I often drew what I wanted her to make and I would choose the fabric.
She also had a large book where the pages were made of tracing paper. She had many drawings in that book and I continued on from where she left off.
At 18, I wanted to go to Art College to become a textile designer. I love natural fabrics and thought it would be fun to design my own.
By the time I got to 30 I had been living in London for seven years and I had worked on many magazines, fashion, lifestyle and interiors and I was really into interiors. I loved buying houses and flats and redesigning them to create simple, open, light-filled spaces. So I yearned to be an architect.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?
I believed that when you said something you had to stick with it and you couldn’t change your mind. I have learned since that circumstances change, ideas change and people change and it’s fine to change your mind many times.
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?
My Mum sent me to a commercial art studio at the age of 16 for work experience.
My Dad brought home Australian Vogue every month.
Matthew gave me a Cannon EOS camera for a birthday present and encouraged me to take more photos.
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?
My book is very visual and is also tactile, the texture of the paper, the cloth ribbon and the de-bossed cover all combine to give the reader a sensual experience. They can hold the book in their hand, dip in and out of it and be inspired. I like the idea of the book coming first and then branching out into other media avenues.
My Greek Island Home is a very personal documentation of my daily life in a village on the island of Lesvos.
This book is about reconnecting with my creativity, with nature and with community.
It’s also about the importance of community living in a time when the world feels so disjointed.
It’s about change, both seasonal and life change.
The book is filled with photographs of people and things that have inspired me, along with stories and accounts from my daily life.
It tells of my journey from Australia to London and how I found the Greek village I now call home.
I have been inspired by Lesvos, the generosity of the Greek people, the beauty of the Island, and a simple way of living.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
For people to find their own creativity, to travel and not to feel restricted by daily life. To follow their hearts and not to be afraid.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
My parents, they are an inspiration. I admire their courage, their honesty, their kindness, their humour and their enthusiasm for life.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To do the best at everything I undertake.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Love what you do and keep true to your self.
Claire, 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.