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 and lived in Sydney until my mid-twenties. I graduated from the University of New South Wales with a science degree and from Sydney University’s Cumberland College of Health Sciences with a post graduate in physiotherapy.
At 12, I wanted to be the first woman decathlete because with that many events to practise I would never have to sit still at a desk all day. At 18, I was just starting university and wanted to be a physiotherapist so I could be involved in both health and sport. According to my mother’s recollections I said that I wanted “to get paid to run around an oval” – a goal I achieved in my 40s as a sports-breathing coach.
At 30, I wanted nothing more than to stay home full-time with my children, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing for the next 10 years.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?
That conventional western medicine has the answers to all health issues.
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?
Helen Reddy singing “I am Woman” became my inspiration whenever the pioneering road of getting recognition for breathing retraining in male-dominated western medicine became tough. And it often did.
5. Considering the innumerable media avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a book?
I chose to write a health-education and self-help book because it was a way of reaching many thousands more people than I could do in clinical practice.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnoea lays out the evidence that faulty breathing habits are a primary cause of poor sleep, snoring and sleep apnoea, and provides practical and effective advice on how to improve your breathing and enjoy quiet restful sleep, great health and more energy.
The first part of this book gives the facts about snoring and sleep apnoea and the serious health problems they can lead to. It tells you why your anatomy – the shape of your nose and your jaw, and the size of your tongue and the ‘soft tissues’ of your palate and throat – may be less of an issue than the way you breathe past them. Part one also helps you identify how your breathing differs from normal healthy breathing and the likely reasons you developed and got stuck with poor breathing habits in the first place. If you snore or have sleep apnoea, you do not breathe correctly. No exceptions.
The second part of the book delivers commonsense practical advice on how to improve your breathing, your health and your sleep – starting while you read. It can be as simple as taking your next breath… differently.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
The knowledge and the skills to achieve and maintain restful sleep night after night, be healthier, be calmer, and have abundant energy day after day.
David Gillespie, who wrote Sweet Poison and Big Fat Lies. He uses scientific evidence and a great writing style to explode myths about diet and set us on the road to improved health and life-expectancy.
9. Many writers set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
Very ambitious – to improve sleep and health for tens of thousands of people and be instrumental in a change in health care policy and practice.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
If you have a message, get it out there. And it helps to find a mentor.
Tess, 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.