Justin D'Ath - Interview (April 2017)
What five words best describe you?
Creative, self-disciplined, empathetic, humorous, bald.
What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?
I loved writing stories as a child, and they must have been ok because my teachers frequently asked me to read them aloud to the class, so when, at age 21, my career took an unexpected turn, I decided to go back to what I was good at as a child, and wrote an adults’ novel that was published 10 year later and won 3 awards.
If you could invite one author, dead or alive to dinner who would it be?
Ernest Hemingway. I’ve been a fan of his writing – particularly the short stories – since my teens, and his life story, his bravura, his dedication to the writing craft, along with his appreciation of wine in quantity would make him an inspiring, entertaining and convivial dinner guest.
Is there any part of the creative process you don't like?
When I’m getting near to the end of a story and have to begin bringing all those threads together. Well, I guess I do enjoy it in a masochistic sort of way, but it can be hard.
Are you a plotter or a panster? (Plotter =Plotting out your manuscript before you write it. / Panster = Putting pen to paper and plotting as you go along)
Panster. Rarely do I know what’s going to happen until it does. I’m in the school of Raymond Chandler, who advised something along the lines of: ‘when the plot seems to be going nowhere, bring in a man with a gun.’ Nowadays, and since I write mostly for children, that gun can be replaced by a ringing phone, or a knock on the door (or head).
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you during one of your presentations/talks?
A boy of about 9 asked me recently, ‘Is it scary being an author?’ ‘No,’ I answered, ‘what makes you think it might be scary?’ ‘Because of all the dangerous things you did when you were a boy in the Extreme Adventures.’
What's next from Justin D'Ath?
Presently I’m working on a novel about the Black Saturday bushfires (the ‘research’ for which WAS scary – I lost my house and nearly all my possessions in that one).