author of Holy See, Unholy Me and many more…
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 at Lockhart in the Riverina, south eastern Australia in 1946 as a baby boomer, and went to school at Boree Creek and Melbourne. I served in the Army before being elected at age 24 to the NSW State Parliament and then later the Federal Parliament of Australia. For a decade I was Federal Nationals leader and for a period of this Deputy PM and Trade Minister, later Ambassador to the Holy See or Vatican.
2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?
At 12 a Train Driver, at 18 a Member of Parliament and at 30 a Cessna pilot, I failed on the first and last!
That JFK was a faultless President of the USA.
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?
Entering the Australian Army, getting married and reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom by Lawrence of Arabia.
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?
The non-fiction book in the 21st century cuts through all the static and clutter of social media et al and brings a focus to a subject, along with delight, discipline and coherence .
Holy See, Unholy Me arose from my 3 year posting as first Rome Resident Australian Ambassador to the Holy See and captures the challenges and colour, action and movement as Ambassador of a small Embassy in the superb hub of Rome. It also reveals some very unusual business between the Vatican and the Australian Government, plus covers the canonisation of Australia’s first Saint in Mary MacKillop.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
To help restore integrity to the dealings of the big end of town post Lehman Brothers and the GFC in line with the excellent but neglected Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
Then fix the freight rail systems of the world for our carbon and climate chaos sakes.
Nelson Mandela in many ways but overall, Pope John Paul II, a great world statesman who also helped changed the world.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
Do better by doing a job well but at this stage of life to become a bit less driven!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
To have great self discipline in setting aside quiet time to write.
Tim, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
Follow Andrew: Twitter