Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Interview with debut thriller novelist T.J. Park

Today’s special guest is T.J. Park and we’re talking about his debut supernatural thriller/crime novel, Unbidden.

During his virtual book tour, T.J. 
will be awarding an e-copy of Mortal Thoughts to 3 randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

T.J. Park is an Australian novelist and screenwriter. He was raised on a steady diet of Stephen King novels, British science-fiction television, and the cinema of John Carpenter and Sergio Leone. Not much else is known about him. That's just the way he likes it.

Welcome, T.J. Please share a little bit about your current release.
My current release is my only release but I’ll certainly consider writing more when the big bucks come rolling in which my agent tells me is imminent. My book is called Unbidden. It’s been broken up into 5 parts with the combined edition coming out in April. MORTAL THOUGHTS is Part 1. They’re in bite-sized chunks of around 70-100 pages each – about the length of a meaty Stephen King novella – the author my agent tells me I’ll be richer than soon. It’s a heist-gone-wrong story which soon careens into the supernatural. Crime and horror make great buddies and I’m a lifelong fan of each genre.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a craven and low sort of man – I get a perverted thrill out of terrifying people. I reasoned that I couldn’t harm them in real life otherwise there would be jail time and shower shenanigans and, on the downside, bad prison coffee, so I knew I would only be able to inflict dreadful injury on people through fiction. Unbidden (MORTAL THOUGHTS is part 1 of 5) is set exclusively in the unendurable hell of the Australian outback. I come from a remote Queensland town (just down the road from where Dr George Miller of MAD MAX FURY ROAD fame was raised/tortured) and know first hand that anywhere beyond 30 inches of our three Eastern board cities is a post apocalyptic wasteland-like zone. I wouldn’t want to live there again but it’s a great place to set a crime/horror novel. Edgar Rice Burroughs never stepped foot in Africa but wrote twenty-four Tarzan novels. I can keep writing about my own dark continent and joyously never have to go there again.

The one-room office was a tight fit, shaped into narrow corridors by desks, radio equipment, kitchenette, filing cabinets and an antique photocopier. A wall-mounted fan oscillated back and forth, achieving little more than shifting the hot air around. Occasionally, for no discernible reason, it emitted a loud, ripping fart.

There was a small, lifeless waiting room glimpsed through a partition door, crammed high with sagging cardboard boxes. Neck explained that a delivery was overdue to be collected. Normally the boxes would be left undercover outside, he told Doug, but thieving had worsened lately. Doug readily sympathised.

There was one other notable feature of the office, and since entering Cutter had barely taken his eyes from her: a young, pretty woman sitting at the corner desk laden with paperwork. She wasn’t introduced, and after initially looking over the visitors, went back to working on her computer and fussing over a stray twist of hair, picking at her clothes, brushing her bared skin self-consciously. Whenever she glanced back up at Cutter, he answered her increasingly shy looks with an unwavering smile.

Duckbill scanned Doug’s clipboard while Neck directed the young woman to scroll through old emails, looking for any sign of the order.

The sound of the whirring, farting fan rose sharply for a moment before its pivot began to slow, the dusty blades becoming visible in their cage, slowing to a halt.

“Great,” said Neck. “Open the windows will you, Sonya?”

“They are open.”

“Open them wider.”

It was through the windows they heard it first – the distant droning of an approaching plane.

Duckbill bumped into Doug and Cutter in his rush to get outside.

“No-one’s due this morning,” Neck muttered for everyone’s benefit. “Sonya, get them on the radio. Ask them who they are and their flight plan.”

Doug spied Sonya rolling her eyes as she went to the radio.

The droning dropped to an abridged roar as a low-flying plane buzzed the building. Its shadow flitted past the windows.

“No, let me,” Neck insisted, elbowing Sonya aside.

Duckbill came back, stopping in the doorway. “It’s circling.”

Neck turned from fussing with the radio, his cheeks and Adam’s apple a heated pink. “Get that truck out of the way!”

“Sure,” Doug said congenially, “right after you sign the invoice.”

Neck clicked the radio repeatedly. “It’s not working!” He ducked under the desk. “For god’s sake … don’t tell me it’s not plugged in!”

“Maybe it’s blown a fuse,” Duckbill suggested.

Neck stood again, rubbing his ear furiously having clipped it on the edge of the desk. “Does it look like it’s in trouble?” he asked Duckbill as he reached for a mobile phone lying nearby.

“From what I could see, it’s flying fine,” Duckbill said.

Doug was closer to the mobile. Reaching to pick it up for Neck he bunted it away instead. It slipped down between the wall and desk.

“Whoops. Sorry.”

Neck pushed past Doug and Cutter, heading outside, glancing down at Doug’s nametag. “Just get out of the bloody way… Russell.”

The plane’s engine noise began swelling again. Duckbill skipped aside as Neck passed through the door. Doug looked over at Sonya, shrugged and gestured, “Ladies first,” yet she declined to exit until he and Cutter went ahead. Doug wasn’t offended. It wasn’t about him. It was Cutter. He made anybody nervous.

What exciting story are you working on next?
It’s a busy time for me reviewing plans for my first mansion with my architect so I haven’t been thinking about further novels. But obviously some time soon when I’m sunning myself by my horizon pool, one won’t help concocting ideas for further stories. If I do write a follow-up bestseller, it’ll be in the same genre. I have always dabbled in screenplays but any riches they generated went to the producers – the true monsters of that medium.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m old school. You’re a writer when someone else takes you seriously as a writer. That means you’re being paid for it. When cash first changed hands that’s when I had the nerve to call myself a writer before that I was some sort of hopeful amoeba.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?
I have always been a full time writer. At least for the last twenty years. I write for the movies and also have a few produced credits in movie length animation. A regular writing day is strong coffee first up, pissing about on the internet for a few hours, a good long lunch, maybe an afternoon movie, a nap and then around 3pm terror and desperation at having wasted another writing day. From 3pm to around 6pm I knuckle under, rip out a few pages and salvage something from my day. This is how all writers work – this is the schedule and truth of every writer’s day if they are honest enough to admit it.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Never saying no to a promising distraction to writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Police diver or cook on a freighter. Something to do with the cool, blue ocean. I’m from a flat, dry, cactus-infested, snake-crawling, hotbox of a place. Growing up, I thought about the sea a lot and how nice it would be to swim in blue water instead of leech and pesticide filled dams and creeks. I live near the ocean these days but it’s a seven-minute walk away so screw that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read UNBIDDEN with the lights on. Weapon or, even better, weapons beside the bed optional. Any matters of resultant manslaughter can be directed to my agent.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

No - thank you! It’s been a pleasure and when the big, fat cheques clear I’ll consider buying your blog.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

What books have fortified you as a writer?