The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Skinjob
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 Melbourne, Australia and was raised and schooled in many countries – my father was a diplomat so we never lived in one place for more than a few years.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
Twelve – A Cop. Because cops were good guys and did very, very cool things.
Eighteen – A Forensic Scientist. Because it combined the above with my passion for science & discovery. I had careers advisors scratching their heads – back then nobody seemed to know what a forensic scientist was!
Thirty – Independent. I was involved in high-tech research, which I loved, but I wanted to work for myself.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That if you work hard enough you can achieve just about anything on your own. Now I know that everything worthwhile is achieved through a combination of hard work and having wonderful people around you. There is always a team!
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?
There are many! Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea was the first novel I read as a boy that had me totally hooked, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange – true art. David Simon’s Homicide – gritty police non-fiction at its very, very best…and about a hundred others.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Love of the craft. And I’m not a very good painter. And you’d never want to hear me sing.
Skinjob is a thriller set in the boardrooms, brothels, churches and alleyways of the near future.
It follows the fortunes of Daniel Madsen, a cop trained to deliver rapid results in high-pressure cases where lives are on the line, and Shari Sanayei, an SFPD surveillance officer. When a bomb goes off in downtown San Francisco, they are told to find the bomber before he strikes again. The action takes place over just six days.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
There are strong messages about exploitation, and about looming social issues, but these are not the main game. If they come away entertained, I’m happy!
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
At the moment Robert Harris is up near the top of the list. He is very flexible (you couldn’t imagine a more diverse set of backdrops than Pompeii, Fatherland and Fear Index!). His novels are thoughtful, entertaining and built on terrific ideas.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To keep producing the best novels I can. That’s the main goal. Then whatever happens, happens. And it would be nice to be known as an author who never lets his readers be bored, not for a single page!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Join a writer’s centre and find a group of people at the same level as yourself to share and critique work. Understand that all first drafts look awful; everything good was re-written and polished many times over before it saw the light of day!
Bruce, thank you for playing.