author of Not Quite Nigella
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 in Darlinghurst, Sydney, and raised in Maroubra and then Kensington. I went to school at Sydney Girls’ High School where I was an average student at best!
2.What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?
At 12, I wanted to be a beautician because I loved the idea of beautifying people or making them feel better. At 18, I knew that I didn’t want to become a psychologist despite the fact that I was studying it at university (alarm, yes!) and at 30, I thought I wanted to be an Advertising Media Director until I was told that I just really wasn’t ready to be that for another ten years or so.
3.What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?
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?
I didn’t realise it at the time but Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites and How To Be a Domestic Goddess were really what I used as a template. Nigella has her own unmistakable voice but Nigella Bites was also a cookbook with fun -the Kitsch chapter for example. And How To Be a Domestic Goddess was devoted to baking, an exploit which I am similarly enamoured of.
5.Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Quite honestly, I can’t sing or dance and I’m tone deaf! I never thought that I enjoyed writing until I started blogging and I’m in love with words all over again.
It’s a memoir based on my life before and during the blog. It details how I went from a corporate job to finding something that I truly love. It’s not a cookbook but there are about a dozen recipes slotted in at the end of chapters where appropriate.
7.What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope they understand blogging a bit more, are entertained and perhaps inspired!
8.Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
There are so many great authors that it’s hard to pin point one that I admire. But I do love J.K. Rowling because she has such a wonderful imagination and created a world in which I wanted to dwell.
9.Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
It may sound disingenuous but I haven’t really set myself up with any goals. I think goals can almost limit you. That doesn’t mean to say that I’m not ambitious, but my ambition is to blog well and choose the right opportunities for myself, but I don’t have any set ambitions.
10.What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Never give up. And it’s never too late to discover that you love writing.
Lorraine, 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.