Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
Born in Coventry, England, raised in nearby Birmingham, England – a huge manufacturing city – schooled there and then at Sheffield University.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve, loved. At eighteen, laid. At thirty, paid. Because basic necessities always seemed important.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I had no strongly held beliefs – still don’t … I’m open to experience and constant verification.
4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
Da Vinci’s Last Supper (great talent, poor application, both instructive), John D Macdonald’s The Lonely Silver Rain (my introduction to a seminal series), Led Zeppelin’s first album (taught me that not being first into a genre doesn’t hurt.)
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Actually very few artistic endeavours are open to me – I have no aptitude for most of them. Words on the page are all I can do.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
A sense of satisfaction, that their time was well spent.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Anyone who produces a good solid book once a year.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
My goal is relatively modest – to please most of the people most of the time.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Ignore all advice. There’s room for only one mind on your side of the transaction, and it needs to be yours and yours alone.
Lee Child, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Product and Chief Buyer at booktopia.com.au.