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 have always been a ninja. Ninja at school, work and a home ninja. Raised in a family of black belts it came naturally to me. I grew up in Melbourne kicking my way through a private girls’ school where full contact sports were unpopular. Taekwondo was my passion, a family culture and it paid off. The greatest tenet of Taekwondo is discipline. The self-discipline I learnt in the dojo has helped me to become a published author. Approaching my studies and writing with the same passion and focus I approached my taekwondo has helped me to fight self-doubt and distractions.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
Every time I blew out the candles out on my birthday cake I wished for the same thing – to be a published author. John Marsden was my English teacher at school. He inspired me and I knew from the age of 10 that I wanted to write. I’ve started out in non-fiction with Weightloss Warrior but I’m working on my novel and a childrens’ series at the moment that will be published in the near future.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At 18 I used to listen to people who said writing was more of a hobby than a stable financial future. Too many people told me at 18 how hard it is to ‘make it’ but I think their definition of ‘making it’ was all wrong. If you have a dream, the making of that dream can be challenging but it is through this great challenge that we grow as people and expand as a race. It may take years to build a career, publish a book, earn a degree, but it’s all worth it. I believe the world expands by people following their dreams. When you use your passion as a compass, then you manifest your dreams. Other people are inspired by that possibility and they too find the courage to chase their dreams. You have to be a ninja in pursuit of your happiness – the only person who can make your dreams come true is you.
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?
1. Growing up ninja and earning my black belt in my family Taekwondo business. Martial arts has influenced everything I do. From being a Health Ninja on The Biggest Loser, to fighting as a Gladiator, to transferring my discipline to writing fiction. Martial arts has taught me to be resilient and this comes in handy, you need a tough skin to work in TV and even tougher skin to handle rejection as a writer.
2. Learning English from the prolific author John Marsden. He began my love affair with collecting words and experimenting with the English language.
3. Working on The Biggest Loser . Whilst it is weightloss show, it is also a show about human nature. I have learnt so much about people working on this show.
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?
No way. Nothing beats the smell of a book. Nothing will ever beat a library.
5. Please tell us about your latest book…
My latest book is Weightloss Warrior. It’s a fun ‘no-diet’ book detailing the importance of healthy eating, building a positive self-image and becoming your own expertly trained warrior within (to protect you from bad choices, help you kick bad habits and give you powerful self-defences). An easy-to-follow guide to long-lasting transformation from the ground up, Weightloss Warrior comes complete with tasty illustrated recipes. Based around five chapters inspired by the coloured belts of Taekwondo, the book leads readers from white belt to black belt through a process that’s not simply turning over a new leaf but preparing the ground for a new self, planting the seeds of change, nurturing your new focus and glorying in growing a whole new you. This full-colour book will entice even reluctant readers to take up the challenge and win the battle within!
6. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
I hope Weightloss Warrior inspires people to make better choices for their health. It’s not about overhauling your life but easy choices that will honor your body, distress your mind and help to create healthier, happier families and communities. Losing weight and health shouldn’t be about grueling exercise and punishing diets – it can be fun! You just need to do it the warrior way.
John Marsden. He is a phenomenal story teller.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I want to write an international best-selling YA novel. I’m working on it. If that’s too hard – I’ll settle for being Jackie Chan in an action flick.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Never write more than you read. Never let anyone tell you how or what to write. Write every single day – no matter if it’s just a little or a lot, get into the rhythm and discipline of training yourself to write regularly. Never listen to anyone who says, “You’re a writer. So what’s your real job?” Most importantly, believe in your story.
Tiffany, 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.