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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Australian Crime Fiction Snapshot - Peter Temple

1. Congratulations on the success of The Broken Shore - the Dagger must come in very handy. After 8 novels and 5 Ned Kelly Awards, it must be a somewhat bemusing experience to be "discovered" by the rest of the world. I couldn't imagine it's a bad thing but has the demand on your time increased greatly this past year or so?

Strange to say, the major consequence of winning the Dagger has been being discovered in Australia. Over the years, I have always enjoyed better reviews than sales in my own country. Then came the Gold Dagger and, thanks to the media blitz organised by Text Publishing's high-revving publicity manager, Kirsty Wilson, THE BROKEN SHORE began to sell from Port Douglas to Port Hedland. Outside Australia, the award triggered rights sales to countries where very few Australians have been published, and that is gratifying. I'm happy to report that demands on my time have increased.

2. The word on the street is that your next book is going to be another Joe Cashin novel. Is that right? Do you envisage him as being a long-term multi-volume protagonist or will Jack Irish reassert himself? And on Jack Irish, how did he come to have such a diverse array of interests?

The word on the street is wrong. Joe Cashin has had his book. He features only briefly in TRUTH, the new book. Jack Irish, on the other hand, is waiting in the wings for his next appearance. Jack came to have such a range of interests because I didn't want him to be one of those one-dimensional protagonists who exist without friends and any real interests except their digestion and unremarkable music. I tried to create a man with loves and loyalties and pursuits and passions.

3. Do you read much Australian crime fiction? Can you give us a few standouts that you've read recently? What do you think of the crurrent state of the Australian crime fiction scene?

I'm too scared to read much crime fiction while I'm working on a book, which is all the time. I think both Kel Robertson and Adrian Hyland (and no, the fact that they are published by Text does not influence me) will write novels that erase the genre boundary.

4. What do you think could be done to better promote Australian authors either at home or abroad (or both)?

My experience with THE BROKEN SHORE tells me that the very best promotion is booksellers getting behind a title. Apart from that, what we need is a national festival of crime writing and a major sponsor for the Ned Kelly Awards. (Why doesn't WestPac put up $50,000? They have a close link with Ned Kelly. A branch of the bank from which they are descended was held up by the Kelly Gang.)

5. If your fictional character could meet any fictional character who would you like it to be and why?

I am very fond of Shane Maloney's Murray Whelan, and I sometimes think that Jack Irish should run into him. It would go something like this:

'Jack, you know Murray Whelan, don't you?'

Whelan gave me a professional two-hander: handshake, firm but not too firm, clasp on upper arm, affectionate but not intimate.

'Jack,' he said. 'How are you, you ageing Brunswick Street lust object?'

'Fine,' I said. 'Haven't seen you since you were helping Peter Batchelor hand out dodgy how-to-vote cards.'

Peter Temple is Australia's most acclaimed crime author in terms of recognition through awards with 5 books picking up the Ned Kelly Award and then the CWAA Duncan Lawrie Dagger (Gold Dagger) with his last novel The Broken Shore. The Jack Irish series is edgy, provocative and laced with a quietly cunning humour thanks to an easy to identify with protagonist while the stand-alone novels are atmospheric and smoothly plotted.

There is more to read about Peter Temple here


Anonymous said...

Another great interview, Damien. I especially like the suggestion of Westpac sponsoring the Ned Kelly Awards.
Have just read The Broken Shore. A wonderful book, and an inspiration for me as a writer. Not a wasted word in it.
FYI, blitzing last year's track record, I'm now reading more than one novel a month. Started this trip with Lindy Cameron's Redback. What a wild ride that was!

ceejay2005 said...

I’d like Jayne to end up in an all-night bar in Bangkok with Phillip Marlowe and grill him until he explained what the hell happened in The Big Sleep. And then shag him. I do enjoy reading crime fiction.

Anonymous said...

I think both Kel Robertson and Adrian Hyland (and no, the fact that they are published by Text does not influence me) will write novels that erase the genre boundary.

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