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 New Zealand, raised in Italy and went to boarding school in London (my father worked for the UN.)
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
When I was 12, I wanted to be a men’s fashion designer. At 18, I wanted to direct films. By 30, I wanted a career change!
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I believed that life proceeds in a straight line; now I believe it is a series of crooked paths.
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 French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas was a key influence for The Dance Teacher (one of the drawings in the book echoes his work).
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I chose to write a children’s picture book because I was inspired by my two daughters (who love to dance) and by our local dance school.
One day a little girl peers around the door of Miss Sylvie’s dance studio. ‘I want to be a ballerina,’ she says. Isabelle loves to dance.
She practises her five positions over and over again. But does she have what it takes to achieve her dream, and one day become a prima ballerina? C
elebrating the joy of dance and the role inspirational teachers can play in our lives, The Dance Teacher will enchant readers young and old.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope readers will think about the teachers who have inspired them, as well as the importance of persistence.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To know when to make things happen, and to know when to let things happen.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Persist, listen closely to yourself and don’t be afraid of rejection.
Simon, 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.