What’s your most favourite under-appreciated novel?
Pig by Kenneth Cook. It is an amazing bit of animal horror and is very forgotten. Set in Australia, it is far better than Razorback and is just a book I cannot put down.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t listen to those people who tell you that you’re wonderful. For too long I believed the hype and thought I was already a writer and didn’t have to try any longer. Ten years of wasted time through egotism. I now realise that as a writer you are always improving, always trying new things and no writer is ever the best they can be. Keep on working at it. It’s not practice that makes perfect—it’s perfect practice that makes perfect.
Did you always want to be an author?
Yes. I was dictating stories to my mother before I could write.
Besides hard work and talent, what other traits have led to your success?
Were you an avid reader while you were growing up?
Yes, and still am. In primary school I even got a school “job” helping in the library.
In relation to Under Ground;
What sparked the idea for this book?
I always start with a “what if…?” question. This one was based on the ending of the book (so I won’t give it away), then I had a left-over idea for the creatures from another book I’d written that (at the time) was looking to be a complete disaster (a rewrite later and it’s finished) and it just sort of flowed backwards from there.
Why did you choose outback Australia as the setting of this book?
The world knows so little about the Outback that it seems logical that you can throw monsters and creatures there, and they can go undiscovered for the pathetic amount of time Europeans have lived here. The Indigenous Peoples knew about many creatures, but they are dismissed. But… what if…?
What’s your favourite scene? The opening scene, where the guy is slapped for daring to kiss the girl he likes, right before the sinkhole opens.
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
A Young Adult fantasy set on a world without magic or science.
How many half-finished and unpublished books do you have right now?
Half-finished, about 5. Unpublished… it’s slightly embarrassing, but close to 50.