When Andrew Ruhl of Underbelly fame (infamy?) volunteered to write a review of The Honourable Thief , I was half expecting to wake up with a disarticulated racehorse’s head under the duvet one morning if my novel displeased him (with apologies to The Godfather).
So it was with some relief that time ticked by with nothing more threatening appeared at my side than my delightful bedfellow, husband Andrew (not Ruhl – Anastasios. Too many Andrews in my life. But that’s another story)
Best of all? The pacy review copied below, which is now doing the rounds of Australia’s daily papers via syndication.
To those of you… OK, let’s be honest, now… ALL of you out there who can’t be stuffed working out the whole ‘fast-forward the four hour podcast till you get to the one hour point’ thing, I’m delighted to say that the ABC in their/its infinite wisdom decided to make a standalone feature of my 30 minute interview with Sarah Macdonald on her ‘Nightlife’ nationwide program. So, lazy bones. No excuses now. This link will take you directly to our chat, which really was lots of fun to do. We talk flawed heroes, writing for TV and film vs. writing a novel, art market shenanigans, fakes and forgeries and, of course, archaeology and history.
When ABC Radio calls you in for a chat with the fabulous Sarah MacDonald on the nationwide programme, Nightlife, and tells you that you’re going to be transmitting from ‘The Tardis’…
… the logical assumption is that you’ve either misheard, or the person giving the instructions is a Doctor Who tragic who has been at the controls for so long that they have control-panel fever and lost the capacity to distinguish between truth and fiction.
Wrong. Documentary evidence below.
Science fiction juggernauts aside, Sarah and I had a lovely conversation, wandering across a broad landscape of topics from archaeology to history, Kevin Rudd’s uncanny resemblance to the boy detective, Tintin, and the dodgy shenanigans that go on in the art auction market. Not to mention, of course, The Honourable Thief, and The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill – the book and series, and the process of bringing them to life. It was great speaking with someone who engaged so closely with The Honourable Thief and understood the wider themes of the story. An absolute highlight.
If you’re interested, you’ll find a link to the podcast here. You’ll find my bit starting just after one hour into the program. And, to those of you with limited technological experience, don’t worry – you can scroll forward to get to the right spot in the podcast.
A funny exchange with a friend recently. Already rather bemused by my fairly colourful/convoluted/dysfunctional career path, she overheard me discussing my forthcoming publications with another friend.
“A COOKBOOK? WHAT!? You’ve written a bloody COOKBOOK now?” she exclaimed.
No, I explained. Not a ‘cookbook’. But a ‘Cook book’. As in – a book about James Cook, to accompany the series I co-wrote that’s currently screening on the FOXTEL History channel. If you’re interested, there’s a smorgasbord of tasty clips, outtakes and extras available on the FOXTEL site.
Occasionally I’m involved with something that I’m very proud to see my name on. This would be one of those projects. Although, as in the screen-grab below, it seems that Sam will be credited with authorship of the book in the popular imagination. And that’s quite alright with me – it certainly won’t hurt sales any.
Who am I to complain, anyway? According to the Wikipedia page for ‘The Water Diviner’, the film was based on the book I co-wrote with my wonderful husband, Andrew. Of course, it was the other way round – we adapted the script (co-written by the brilliant Andrew Knight) into a novel. But try to tell Wikipedia that (I’ve tried. Believe me). Now it’s been published far and wide – an authentic example of ‘fake news,’ not to mention a cautionary tale showing how careful you have to be if you plan to use Wikipedia as a source of information.
It’s a very entertaining interview with Chrissie, Sam and Brownie, by the way. The man can certainly turn on the charm. Clip available here.
One of the things nobody ever warns you about when you finally decide you want to start writing ‘author’ in the ‘occupation’ box on your bank loan application form… actually, scrub that. Could there be any less attractive career choice to a potential lender of financial largesse? The income stream is less reliable than Centrelink payments. And that’s saying something.
But I digress. As I was saying – an unexpected, and not at all unpleasant, activity associated with having a novel released is that you spend a lot of time chatting about said book with various people who have an interest in things written on paper and a platform from which to speak about those things. Along the way you get asked many questions. And sometimes, those questions really make you stop and think. Enter, Theresa Smith, who just interviewed me and posted my answers on her wildly popular literary blog, Theresa Smith Writes. She rolled out some corkers.
Thanks, Theresa! It was fun.
To the Unseen Librarian, custodian of the Unseen Library.
Thank you. Reading a review that shows how closely someone has read my story… well, it’s actually difficult to express how gratifying it is to know that the people and worlds I’ve created have been received so well, particularly by someone who makes it his business to know books.
The review itself is not Unseen. You’ll find it here.
And, she likes it!
Any review that opens with the statement that the book under consideration ‘marks a departure from the books I usually read’ makes me quake in my boots a little. Well, a lot, really.
I shouldn’t have worried.
The endorsement of Amanda from Mrs B. Book Reviews does count for a great deal. She sees fit to describe it as: ‘…rich and historically infused action’, ‘…a solid piece of investigative fiction,’ and concludes that: ‘[r]eaders have plenty to draw from in The Honourable Thief, it is an original and bracing novel.’
Given how much she reads, not to mention her standing in the Australian literary community… well, colour me pretty damned chuffed.