The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of The Rig
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 the North of England back in 1987, but grew up in Perth, Western Australia. I went to school all over the place, probably about six different schools between Perth and Barrow-in-Furness. I lived in Canada for awhile and moved back to Perth this year!
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I wanted to be a blackberry farmer. At eighteen, still holding on to that dream. Now that I’m halfway to thirty and my job isn’t any where even approaching blackberry farmer, I reckon working on that by the time I’m thirty could be an admirable goal.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
Heh. I used to believe that when you turned eighteen everything started to make sense, but at twenty five I’ve realised that no one knows what they’re doing most of the time, and there are no real answers to believe in—except answers you make for yourself. Have a goal and work towards it, is what I believe in.
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?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers also became something of an influence. Their particular brand of lyrical wordplay made me want to write similar sort of meaningful stories.
And I consider the film Ghostbusters to be a work of art. If I could write a character half as real as Bill Murray’s portrayal of Peter Venkman…
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Writing works for me. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, and stick figures are as good as it gets when it comes to drawing. Reading a lot growing up and today, I’ve always wanted to write. Spent the best part of the last ten years learning, at least scratching the surface, on how to do just that. So far so good.
6. Please tell us about your novel, The Rig
The Rig is my first published novel, from Hot Key Books, and my first foray into the Young Adult/Teen Reader genre. It’s very much an action-orientated story. Will Drake, the main character, has made a career breaking out of high-security prisons. Set in 2026, all the major custodial services around the world are privatised under one monolithic corporation—the Alliance. Having embarrassed them by escaping three times already, the Alliance sends Drake to their inescapable prison. An old oil rig in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The story starts as Drake lands on the Rig, but he learns pretty quickly that he may have bigger problems than just escaping!
From the Publisher.
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the Cherub team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.
*This is a Booktoberfest title. Buy this book now to go in the draw to win Booktopia’s weekly giveaway – a $250 Booktopia voucher – AND order by 31st October 2013 to go in the draw to win the fantastic publisher prize.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
Oh, I just hope they enjoy the story. A few themes do run through the work, of course, such as the worry of privatising government services, the kind of environments that breed criminal behaviour, and just how far a person is willing to go for family. All good things to be thinking about. But, yeah, story above all.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Can never decide between three authors here. Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, and Simon Van Booy. They are masters of what they do, stringing words together. If I could somehow steal their hard work and sheer, raw talent… Really, I admire anyone with the courage to write.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
2,000 words a day is my, I’ve been told, somewhat ambitious goal. I don’t think it too unreasonable, so long as I use proper time management. At 2,000 words a day I can have a first draft in a little over a month. Always be writing is my goal. Never mind if stories are being rejected, not working, or falling to pieces, if I make a start on a novel I’ll finish it—usually within two months, sometimes a lot faster. Words on the page are worth far more than great ideas in the mind. First drafts, however quickly written (or not), can be fixed in edits. Get the words on the page!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Pretty much see above. Finish what you start, even if you don’t like it. Write, write, write. Don’t worry about publishing until you’re happy with what you produce (which may be never, you have to be the judge). But have a schedule of writing time and stick to it, no matter what. No one can read an idea in your head, and you’ll only get better through long, lonely practice! Write, ladies and gentlemen. Write!
Joe, Thank you for playing.