Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview with Chris Womersley author of Bereft

We at the General Fiction Book Club forum were given a rare opportunity to read and discuss a pre-pubbed novel, discuss it with the author and talk about it with each other. Bereft is the novel it comes out in the US May 1st and it is my honored privilege to present the interview that the author did with me.

Interview with Chris Womersley

Debbie - Chris first let me say welcome to the Barnes & General Fiction board, myself and all the participants are really looking forward to the opportunity to not only read and discuss a  pre-pubbed novel but really looking forward to interacting with you the author as well.
Chris- Thanks so much for having me!

You’re in Australia and the novel was first published there in 2010 and is due to come out here in the US on May 1st. In how many countries has the book been published.
- Bereft has so far been published in Australia, the UK, the US and France, with Germany and Croatia to come some time next year. The Low Road will be out in the US in September, I believe.

Your bio states that you are a radio journalist and you’ve gone all over the world for your work
What was your favorite assignment
- Although I have worked as a journalist and I have traveled, the two are not really connected. I travelled a lot in my 20s, through Europe, Asia and South America and didn’t really start working in journalism until I was 30 or so. My journalism work has been largely about sub-editing, which is an office-bound job of writing headlines and correcting grammar.

Do you still work as a journalist
- Yes, although not as much as I used to. I still gotta make a living!

You’ve written full length novels and short stories, which venue do you prefer
- I love them both, to be honest and each requires different mindsets and sets of skills. A good short story can be truly satisfying because it can be read in a single sitting but a novel has the potential for richness and depth of characterization that few other art forms can offer. In that way, the challenge is more akin to that of running a marathon. One needs reserves of imagination and energy, not to mention quite a deal of patience.

You have two novels published so far and they’re both very different The Low Road is a contemporary and Bereft is from WWI era.
Did you prefer writing historically or the contemporary
- I don’t really have a preference, although I must admit that writing something historical was great fun. Basically, it was a great excuse to sit around reading interesting history books and call it research. Always an advantage. On the other hand, The Low Road is not set in any particular time or place and that was a wonderful exercise in pure imagination.

Where do you get your ideas
- Ideas bubble up from all over the place. Sometimes I read articles in newspapers or file away stories people tell me (you can never really trust a writer!). Bereft began in some way after a friend told me the story of their father, who had perhaps been partly responsible for the accidental death of a schoolmate and who was from then on known, by teachers and fellow students, as The Murderer, although he was never charged with any crime.

Did you always want to write
- I attempted my first novel when I was about 12. It was a Star Wars sequel that ran to about 70 handwritten pages. It is long gone and I cannot even recall the title now. So the answer is probably Yes. I’ve always loved reading and trying to evoke in others what certain books have evoked in me always seemed a logical thing to attempt. I am at my happiest when reading or writing.

Are you looking for a specific audience for your novels
- Not really. My ideal audience is probably a 18-year-old version of myself. I try to write the kind of book that I haven’t read but would like to. I try to write the book that doesn’t yet exist, but should.

Are you working on another novel, can you tell us anything about it.
- I am about halfway through a new novel called (a this stage) Cairo. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young man called Tom Button who becomes enamored with a charismatic group of bohemians who lure him into a world of art forgery and theft. With a bit of luck and time it might be out later next year.

What do you do when you’re not writing, for fun
- Writers don’t have fun! We sort of work all the time – stealing people’s life stories to use in our novels, reading other books, worrying about money. Although I do enjoy swimming and playing Lego with my beautiful son Reuben when I can. Although I am getting a bit sick of Lego, to be perfectly honest…

Thank you Chris for the interview, now let’s get on with the discussion!
Thank you!

Vist Chris's website here pre-order the novel here and you'll find my review here