Peter Temple Interviews

Peter Temple's novel Truth was published in October 2009 and has been receiving its fair share of attention.

I missed an interview with the author published in "The Australian" in October. Temple was interviewed by Peter Craven:

Truth comes to take in corruption in high places, intrigue in the police force, marital infidelity and family dysfunction, as well as the encircling drama of Victorian bushfires. So was he at work on Truth as towns outside Melbourne were burning down? "Oh, yes. I was writing this book until two months ago, but I knew long before the fires that it had to have the fires in it, that it was book set in high and dangerous summer."

What's the process of writing like for him? He looks at me as though this is an old story. "I wouldn't say I was fluent. There are days when it comes easily, after weeks of muddling. But the days that come easily aren't necessarily the better days in terms of the result. I often get bogged down and, when I do, I might jump three chapters ahead. In the end it's like repairing a tapestry.

"It's when there's the sense of urgency that I start to enjoy it. That's when it begins to take hold of you and you get the sense of the right words for stages and for the patterns that have formed." He is attracted to the drama of the crime story. "I like having a plot, I like characters with a reason to get up in the morning."

Temple couldn't make it to the UK for the recent launch of his novel there, but Bob Cornwell of TW Books was able to interview him by email:

Bob Cornwell: When we last met, after winning the 2007 CWA Gold Dagger for The Broken Shore, you were already talking about that book as the first part of a possible trilogy. How did you arrive at that idea?

Peter Temple: It came to me while I was finishing The Broken Shore. Stephen Villani had a bit part and I liked him as a character: knowing, sardonic, much older in his manner than his contemporary Joe Cashin. I thought he might deserve his own book and I began thinking about his life and his city, and that became Truth. But I don't know about a third instalment. I need to do something else. Get out more.

The book has been long in the writing. More relaxed deadlines this time around? Did the (I believe) unprecedented award from the Australia Council for the Arts in any way enable you to take what you have called "a longer swing at it"?
I was able to take my time with Truth and for that I'm indebted to the Australia Council's wonderful policy of giving money to all kinds of writers, even those badged as crime writers. Before this taxable gift, I've always written under the pressure of bills. Of course it is not in the interests of publishers for writers to escape the lash of need, but mine is patient - not happy but patient.

You normally work from a "feeling" about what you want to do. What was that feeling this time?
Melbourne is a city changing faster than many of its inhabitants like. I wanted to write something that could capture its present and its recent history through the hard eyes of a cop twenty-five years in the job. I did my usual fiddling around, trying to find a score for the story, trying to find a voice for Stephen Villani, trying to avoid exposition as far as possible, losing faith, and giving up on the enterprise from time to time.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 19, 2010 10:03 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #194 - Our Sunshine by Robert Drewe was the previous entry in this blog.

Reprint: A Gordon Memento: A Letter to the Editor of The Argus by John L. Menzies is the next entry in this blog.

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