I like reading stories about the interaction between people and ideas: I like to see how people who are not like me live their lives, how people affect each others’ lives and how they deal with the capricious role of events.
I like stories that leave me reflecting on real-world issues, without preaching at me. Moral ambiguity and divergent viewpoints appeal to me a lot. So do characters who don’t fit.
I like to think about people as individuals but also in the collective, as a society. What we are doing to ourselves and to our societies isn’t really great, it needs thinking about.
When I come out of a read as a result feeling somehow better equipped for life, or at least better understanding it, that’s the best.
So, that’s the kind of story I like to write.
Books I have really got a lot from have been by authors including Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, Pat Barker, William Wharton, Colum McCann, Tim Winton, Timothy Findley, Janette Turner Hospital, Robyn Davidson, Wally Lamb, David Malouf. Thea Astley, Hanya Yanagihara, Robert Pirsig, Richard Russo and Anne Tyler.
Changes in the publishing industry that have made it less of a small-business industry and more corporatised, including the branding and personality promotion of big-name authors as entertainment in their own right, I think have had a mostly negative impact on books and reading.
The artist does not equal the painting, the author does not equal the book: very often, the creator in person is less interesting and admirable than the work. Oscar Wilde and Salvador Dali are obvious exceptions, but I am not like them. I don’t see that I personally am very relevant to your possible enjoyment of my work and I don’t want to confuse the work with me (the work is the finer and more interesting of us), so you won’t get much personal detail out of me. I’m pleased to discuss the themes and issues I deal in, but not me.
So, I guess it’s not much of a biography. But if its purpose is to help you decide whether to read more or not, rather than to promote me or engage me in some social media universe, then it should do.