Company of the Dead is a mix of genres – action, adventure, sci-fi, and it is also evocatively descriptive. Where do you see it fitting on the shelf? What other authors do you admire?
Frankly I’d like to see it on everyone’s shelf, as to where they might put it is a dilemma I have long had myself. As you say, it’s a mix of genres and deliberately so. I’d like to think of it as literature, I suppose. As for my tastes, they are quite varied. I love James Joyce and Marcel Proust, writers who lived for their words, but I equally enjoy authors like Stephen King and James Ellroy. There is a long list of writers I admire; what they hold in common to me is a desire to treat their readers as honestly and respectfully as possible.
Your characters (eg. Kennedy and Lightholler) are appealing and charismatic. Was it difficult to leave them behind once you’d completed the novel?
What are you planning as a follow-up?
I am working in collaboration on a screenplay. There is also a novel I’ve had in the pipeline for the last five years. I will tell you two things about it. Firstly, it has nothing to do with Company. Secondly, whenever I discussed the premise of it with friends who were familiar with the way Company was progressing, they told me to abandon Company and start on the new one. I hope that bodes well.
Had you always intended to write for an international audience? I kept hoping for an Aussie to pop up!
I was waiting to see an Aussie myself, believe me. There were a number of characters in the book, slated to be Australian. Any attempt I made in that direction seemed contrived within the framework of the novel. The relationships they have and the things that drive the characters are intrinsically related to their cultural backgrounds, and I certainly did not want to make any token gestures for the sake of local markets. As for my intended audience – I wrote something that I thought I would enjoy reading. I didn’t want to be bound by borders or social interests.