The Booktopia Book Guru asks
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 Wollongong, was raised and went to school in the Blue Mountains, firstly at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School, then St Columba’s High School and finally McCarthy Catholic Senior High; are you sensing a theme here? I must have epitomized catholic schoolgirl-hood because I was school captain – twice.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I wanted to be Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits, at eighteen, Nicole Kidman in Vietnam. By thirty I’d come to terms with the fact I would never be a statuesque, elegant, red head and went in search of my own story.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At eighteen I thought I had a shot at marrying Tom Cruise, (see above) twenty years on I think I can safely say I dodged a bullet there. Although that’s not to say I would rule out a date or possibly even two, if – you know – the opportunity ever presented itself.
So what have I learnt in twenty years? Not much.
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?
There were three moments in my early career that made me realize I had a story, a really good story.
The first moment was on the set of The Matrix, where I watched the legendary fight director Wu Ping turn Keanu Reeves into a kung fu master. What I saw from Wu Ping and his stunt team was beyond physical it was mystical, and I was in awe.
The second such moment was thanks to Jackie Chan. I met him in Asia where he is revered as a god. It was when I really thought about what makes him so beloved that I stumbled upon the theme that runs through the Jamie Reign series; it is what makes us different that makes us powerful.
The third moment was in Hong Kong where I was working on the 1997 handover celebrations. We spent months on the barges and tugs of Victoria Harbour, going to the bays and villages that people who look like me rarely get to see. It was there I began to hear the stories of a young Eurasian boy who had been abandoned by his Chinese mother and left to the alcohol-fueled rages of his English father. He had been denied school and had to work; salvaging boats, diving for wrecks and outrunning typhoons. I had already fallen for the man that boy grew up to be, now I fell in love with his stories as well.
The first chapter of the Jamie Reign series is very much my James’ childhood but from there it is a kung fu adventure with deference to both Wu Ping and Jackie Chan.
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?
First and foremost, I wrote a story. It’s a story I love that I hope others love too. With all the options available is a book the best medium for Jamie Reign? Absolutely. Jamie’s story is more than a kung fu adventure, it is a study of a young boy learning he is capable of much more than he ever dared imagine. It is an intimate story that invites the reader into Jamie’s hopes, his fears and his dreams. I am an avid consumer of popular culture and for me the most intimate stories are ones that read, so Jamie’s story had to be a book.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Jamie Reign; The Hidden Dragon is the second book in the Jamie Reign Series. The first book, Jamie Reign; The Last Spirit Warrior delves into the secret legends of the Spirit Warrior, elite fighters who can heal with their own life-force.
In The Hidden Dragon, Jamie returns to the kung fu academy a hero but he is carrying a terrible secret, one that threatens everything and everyone he holds dear.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
That even the least likely of us is special.
My admiration is divided in equal measure between Lisa Berryman and Nicola O’Shea; publisher and editor respectively, for not beating me senseless for my continued misuse of the English language.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
Infamy. Although some days my most ambitious goal is to feed my children a meal that hasn’t been delivered in a cardboard box.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Keep your day job. I don’t mean to be flippant, or cruel but my publishing adventures so far have taught me that this is a business, and like all start-ups you have to be prepared to invest in yourself. For me it was a mentorship with Kathryn Heyman, attending writing conferences and a having a social media strategy; none of which came cheaply. However it was having this money set aside so I could seize opportunities when they came up that made the difference between being a writer and becoming an author.
P.J., thank you for playing.
by P.J. Tierney
The bestselling novelist of all time.
The world’s most famous detective.
The literary event of the year.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1920, more than two billion copies of Agatha Christie’s novels have been sold around the world. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand-new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation, Hercule Poirot.
In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle sure to baffle and delight both Christie’s fans as well as readers who have not yet read her work. Written with the full backing of Christie’s family, and featuring the most iconic detective of all time, this new novel is a major event for mystery lovers the world over.