My latest book, Ghost Dance, is in the realm of Dark Fantasy. It is a quest saga. A young man has lycanthropy and the cure can possibly be found in Germany. His allies are vampires and vampire hunters. A modern day warlock wants his blood for sinister reasons. I have been developing my vampires and vampire hunters for over a decade. They first appeared in a series of short stories. Then came the novel Disco Evil and now Ghost Dance. Soon there will be Torch Song.
How long does it take you to write your books?
Each book takes between six months and a year to complete.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I was inspired to write Disco Evil because I believe everyone deserves a fair go and that people who go out of their way to be nasty to others really do build up bad karma for themselves. I happen to like quest/adventures stories so that’s how Ghost Dance came about. Two of the women in Ghost Dance are based on certain stand up and be counted sort of ladies I know and love in real life.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
There is quite a lot of myself hidden in everything I write. My writing, however, is more upbeat than downbeat.
Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?
My favorite main character in Disco Evil is Paul Priestly. He isn’t the brightest of pennies and he has somewhat of a one track mind. My favorite main character in Ghost Dance is Petra, the female vampire. She tries to do the right thing most of the time but she is also hot tempered and she does have her moments of blood lust.
Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?
With both Disco Evil and Ghost Dance I did some research in the library and on the internet. I also asked novelist and friend Lyn McConchie for help. Trust a first class novelist to tell you when you need to look into matters in more detail or when you need to cut back on description.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
There are messages in my writing for sure but I don’t really want to tell anyone about them. It is best if the readers figure such things out for themselves.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I have a rough plot in mind before I begin writing. My characters tend to keep me going in the right direction.
What are you working on right now?
I have Torch Song in the pipe line. It is set in Australian and in the USA. In it I poke my tongue out at ‘Reality’ television and comment on the subject of loneliness. There are a lot of fun moments. It is definitely not all doom and gloom. Right now I am tentatively looking at political correctness in Australia in the 1990s and how this affected office work for a great many people. No working title so far. Even so, Torch Song comes out next.
What is the easiest part of the writing process?
The first draft is the easiest part of the writing process. You can really let yourself go. Very few writers expect the first draft to be the last. Mitchener went through a number of drafts before he was happy with Hawaii. I go through a number of drafts before I even approach an editor.
Does writing come easy for you?
Some writing does come easy to me. When the idea that kicks it off is red hot then it’s easy.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
When it comes to Disco Evil I want people to walk away thinking that they have had an experience worth savoring. With Ghost Dance it would be great if the reader feels that they have been on a journey that has come to a satisfying conclusion.
Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?
When you deal with the supernatural killing off a characters doesn’t mean they won’t return. I have had characters return a number of times after death to either help or hinder the living.
How has your background influenced your writing?
One thing I loved doing with Ghost Dance was to bring back Ramsgate Baths as a place for the spirits. The Baths had been destroyed to make room for a car park. They do, however, live on in my memory and in the memories of quite a few people who lived south of Sydney when I was young. If people can exist as ghosts why not much cherished places that are no more in the world of flesh and blood? Why shouldn’t some ghost have a play where they can play and generally have fun?
What do you like to read?
I like to read adventure stories and dark fantasy. The Disc World novels of Terry Pratchett really crack me up – in a good way.
Where can people find your books?
My novels Disco Evil and Ghost Dance can be purchased through Smashwords as an e-book and also through Amazon USA.