Can you describe your personality in three words, just three?
Hmm… this is difficult. I think I can explain it from other people’s perspective – annoying… there you go, I can do it in one word.
Can you present your book “Cemetery Lake” in your own words?
« Cemetery Lake » is the first book that introduces Theodore Tate, a private investigator who used to be a cop until his family was hurt a few years earlier. Theo is looking for redemption for the bad things that he has done – the problem is he continues to do bad things in order to help people. « Cemetery Lake » is about a serial killer who digs up coffins in a cemetery and replaces the dead bodies inside with his murder victims, then tosses the original dead bodies into the lake.
I read that when you start writing the first version of “Cemetery Lake”, you do not know the name of the killer…
This is true. I wrote about 80 or 90 percent of the book without knowing who the bad guy was going to be. So if I couldn’t figure it out, then it means the reader won’t figure it out either (hopefully).
Once I came up with somebody, then I had to rewrite the novel a bit to get everything to line up.
Your books are dark and cynical and you dive ordinary men in extreme situations…
Yes, I think that the reader can often best relate to ordinary people. This way they can ask themselves what they would do in that situation, and I try to write in a way that pulls the reader into the story, so they can experience it from the characters in the book. Often I want you to like all the characters involved – even the bad people.
You regularly speak about revenge and family stories…
Revenge stories are my favorite. I’ve always loved them, and for me it’s always going to be an important element. I think revenge is a great motivation ! And who wouldn’t want revenge for a hurt family member ?
The characters of “The Cleaner” and “Cemetery Lake” will know a sequel to their stories, is that correct?
Yes, correct. “Cemetery Lake” is the start of a series of books with the same character – Theodore Tate. His next novel is “Collecting Cooper”, then “The Laughterhouse”. I have just sent the new Tate novel to my editor.
“The Cleaner” also has a sequel called “Joe Victim”, and has just come out in English a few weeks ago. I don’t know when it will be released in France – perhaps 2014.
Your books take place in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Your description of the city is not very idyllic. How the locals do they see your novels?
Well not many people in NZ read the books, but for those that do it’s pretty mixed. The city is very dark in places, and many people don’t want to admit that. Of course it’s not as dark as it is in the books !
Your success has ironically started in Germany with “The Cleaner”. Today you have a worldwide success… except in New Zealand and the UK! How does it feel not to known in your country?
It can be a pain sometimes, because I think people here would like the books –but it doesn’t happen. Same for the UK. Hopefully one day that will change. NZ is important to me, so it’s always disappointing when only a few people read the books.
Can you tell us a few words about your next novel that will be published in France?
I’m not sure what the next one is going to be…
You visited France several times this year to meet readers, and you discovered the cold winter of our country… 😉
This is very true! But I have also been to France in some very beautiful weather! I love going there – it’s one of my favorite countries!
You have your own theory of life (something about the frisbee). Can you explain it to us?
I have this theory that throwing a frisbee is so basic and zen-like, and such a friendly thing to do, that if you threw a frisbee at peace summits and UN meetings, everybody would get along much better. You could discuss peace talks while yelling out ‘Nice catch, Barack!’
This blog is made of words and sounds. Is music important in your creative process?
Absolutely ! I always have a stereo going and am always listening to music. When I write, I have the stereo turned up quite loudly. All the books have been written to certain albums – “The Laughterhouse” was written mostly to The Doors, “Cemetery Lake” was written to Pink Floyd, “Joe Victim” to Bruce Springsteen. I cannot imagine a world without music.
It’s always a real privilege to be invited to come along to France, and a huge thrill to met fans who have enjoyed the books. Thank you so much for embracing a writer from New Zealand and making me feel so welcome there.
Catégories :Interviews littéraires