Every time you find something that doesn’t work, you’re a step closer to what does work.
Failure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you, to see if you have what it takes to see it through.
I find writing extremely difficult. I usually have to drag myself to my desk, mainly because I doubt myself. And it’s getting harder because I want to improve with every book.
I had many boxing matches with my brother in the backyard when we were younger, and I guess while other people abhor boxing for its brutality, I also have to admire anyone who climbs into the ring to face up to what could be the ultimate defeat.
I like the idea that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It’s probably what I love most about writing – that words can be used in a way that’s like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around.
I like to tell students, ‘I didn’t burst on to the literary scene.’ I’m never good at things at the beginning. I was terrible at the start. I need to work and work.
I procrastinate in spades. In my defence, I also try to have all other distractions solved before I can concentrate on writing. My small theory is that to write for three hours, you need to feel like you have three days. To write for three days, you need to feel like you’ve got three weeks, and so on.
I think ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ is the mother of all cult books, because you can be in that cult and not even know you’re in it.
I think to be writer you have to enjoy being alone. I was a loner as a teenager and was always drawn to characters in books and films who were at the fringes.
I try hard and aim big. People can hate or love my books but they can never accuse me of not trying.
I’m not a writer who refuses to talk about a book until I’ve finished.
I’m not one of these ‘the characters write themselves; the story just fell out of me’ kind of writers. Wish it was like that.
Living in Sydney, I’ve taken the chance to start surfing again. One of my best memories of growing up is catching my first proper wave and surfing across it and my brother cheering at me from the shore.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a house painter like my father, but I was always screwing up when I went to work with him. I had a talent for knocking over paint and painting myself into corners. I also realized fairly quickly that painting bored me.