author of No Free Man
Ten Terrifying Questions
To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Victoria, attended primary school in South Australia, high school in Queensland, TAFE in New South Wales, and university in Canberra.
What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. At eighteen, I had no idea what I wanted to be. At thirty, I just wanted to be left alone to write.
What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I believed answers were easy to come by.
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?
Dust and Ashes by Anatoly Rybakov 1994 – I read this book when I was sixteen and it was the first book that showed me what good writing could do.
The Pearl Earring by Dorothee Golz 2009 – a digital reinvention of Vermeer’s work; it’s easy to become convinced that everything has been done before until you see something that breathes new life into a masterpiece.
To Have and Have Not, the 1944 film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart alongside Lauren Bacall in her debut – I learned a lot about dialogue and character from great films like this.
Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I don’t think I chose to write at all. I’m pretty certain writing chose me. Sometimes I wish it hadn’t but, most of the time, I’m glad it did.
Please tell us about your latest novel…
No Free Man is about an assassin looking for a way out, a thief ready to kill for answers, a secret operative who thought he got away with it, a crime kingpin who wants it all, a president who will burn her country down to save it, and the agent who has to piece it all together before it’s too late.
What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope there is a little something for everyone.
Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Matthew Reilly: he persistently pens fast-paced stories full of energy and adventure. I learned the hard way how difficult this is. Reilly gets criticised a lot for his writing, but doesn’t get praised enough for what he gets right – and he gets it right every time.
Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I won’t lie to you: I rarely plan ahead. In fact, I didn’t really plan to get this far.
What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Get good, get original, get it done, get it out there, get rejected, get over it, get better, and go all in.
Graham, thank you for playing!
No Free Man
Volkov forfeited his future when he was paid to forget his past. Forced to adapt, he ultimately became the world’s most wanted killer – feared, vicious and brutal. A tool of the Organizatsiya, a Russian crime syndicate that forged him into ‘The Wolf’, he’s pursued by American spies and Australian agents, torn between his need to survive and his desire to be free.
When a shock encounter in Australia uncovers forgotten secrets and threatens uneasy allegiances, Volkov suddenly sees a choice – one he thought would never be his to make. With a billion-dollar international oil deal threatening to shift the global balance of power, will Volkov return to Moscow to wage war for the Organizatsiya … Read more.
About the Contributor
Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.