Where do your words come from?
My head, there’s a long tunnel at the back of it and the words tend to stumble out of there at odd times and with peculiar rhythms. They also tend to come from the past, from dreams and memories, which makes them pretty unreliable, and quick to fade. I’m not that good at catching them, but I get some which is all you can really hope for, I suppose.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Gunnedah, until I was fifteen. It’s a smallish country town in North Western NSW. Then I moved to Lismore in Northern NSW for about six years. I live in Brisbane now, and have done for ten years. I love it here.
What’s the first sentence/line of your latest work?
When the day was longer than it is now in the three grand columns of the Lands Found, and all things reduced, Jackknife caught his first wife with a song.
I shouldn’t actually be working on that story, but I was taking a break from this one:
There’s a knife cold and sharp, and pressed like a longing for extinction beneath my Adam’s apple.
Which is the first line of Managing Death, bk 2 of Death Works which is coming out at the end of 2010. Of course, it probably won't be once I've worked through the book again, and it's gone through the various editorial stages before publication. You can check in December 2010.
What piece of writing do you wish you had written?
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. They’re both transcendental works of fiction, every word is perfect. Oh, and Wuthering Heights, and The Man in the High Castle, and The Left Hand of Darkness, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. I could go on for pages and pages. Maybe though the one piece of writing I wish I had written is William Blake's The Sick Rose. It's just so evocative and deceptively simple.
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of Crimson Joy
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Hey, at least I get to type it.
What are you currently working towards?
Getting better, trying to work to deadlines without going crazy, and finishing a good dozen or so projects that have been bubbling away in the back of my skull and on my hard drive for far too long. Which doesn't sound like fun, but it really is. There's a terror and deep, deep pleasure to it all.
Complete this sentence… The future of the book is nothing like anyone expects it to be.