Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Scott: Thank you so much taking the time to chat with us here at The Fringe magazine. I’ve recently finished reading your latest book, Rip Off and thoroughly enjoyed it.  How has it been received it the market to date?
Paul: The Five Mile Press tell me it’s selling very well. It’s in a genre that readers enjoy: true Australian stories told with an accent on entertainment.
Scott: With the introduction of e-book readers, like Kindle and Sony Reader, there is a current debate about the piracy of e-books and the loss of the print media. How do you feel about e-books?
Paul: They are the future, sadly.  The print media has been a big part of my life: my first job was as a copyboy, aged 12, on a Melbourne institution, The Sporting Globe. I’d go into the paper on Saturday afternoon and marvel at the chaos. But by seven that night, without fail the trucks were rolling and delivering bundles of the Globe to clusters of people, shivering in the cold outside newsagencies, waiting to read how their footy teams went. I went on to work on a dozen newspapers here and in London and New Zealand.

That said, I must admit that the interweb thingy has a lot going for it. I love the way that – if I get the urge at three in the morning – I can curl up with Madame Bovary, free online. And I love blogs. When it comes to breaking news and analysis the best bloggers are light years ahead of the mainstream media, which, on the whole, is just beginning to understand this.  
Scott: A lot of new writers often ask about the amount of pages or words that a published author produces each day. How much time would you spend writing on a typical day, (if a typical day exists for a writer that is)?
Paul: Once I’ve done my research I’m happy to write around 2,000 words a day. More if the mood takes me.
Scott: How hard is it to accurately research the sort of topics you covered in Rip Off? There must be conflicting information around for both sides of the stories?
Paul: Once again, thanks to the web, there is so much information available. I have a library of hundreds of book on Australiana and the web supplements this. It’s true, however, that you have to be careful that what you are reading is reliable. Manning Clarke, for instance, once the supreme Australian historian, is now seen as a dodgy source. I first became aware of this when I read his account of the Kelly gang. Clarke had the gang holding up a bank in Benella. Ned and his boys only held up two banks and neither was in Benalla. Clarke also managed to get the facts wring on that other Australian icon, Phar Lap. He had him winning two Melbourne Cups. If he couldn’t get the elementary facts about our most celebrated Australians why would you trust him on, say, the Petrov affair?
Scott:  How do you approach your writing? Do you plot our the chapters you want to have or does this change dramatically once you do some research into the subject?
Paul: I make a list of the subjects that I believe I’ll enjoy researching and writing about. Sometimes that leads me to other rewarding byways.
Scott: As a writer it is interesting to hear what other writers read in their spare time. It is often surprising to hear the genres and variety of books other authors read. Can you tell us what are you reading at the moment and what you five favorite books are?
Paul: I’m reading Elmore Leonard’s Djibouti - Elmore is king of the thrillers - and such blogs as Tim Blair and Steynonline (Mark Steyn is the most amusing and most skilled essayist writing today). My favorite – because they were formative - books: Stevenson’s Treasure Island; Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Hemingway’s The First 49 Short Stories; Shakespeare’s tragedies; and  Michael Frayn’s Towards the End of the Morning.b
Scott: Have you ever written or plan on writing any fiction?
Paul: I plan to.
Scott: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five authors would you like to have as companions and why?
Paul: Oscar Wilde, G.K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, Michael Frayn and Dorothy Parker. Each of them very different and all very amusing. We would all starve but there would be lively conversation under the palm tree as we did so.
Scott: Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to your next book.

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