Roger McDonald Interview

Please tell us about your latest novel...

When Colts Ran began differently from my other novels. It did not grow out of itself in the same way. Its parts originated in long stories, almost novellas, with a variety of main characters. First there was a failed novel about a runaway boy (Colts) and his bumptious mentor, an old soldier (Major Buckler). I finished that novel ten years ago; it was about to be published as "To the Night Sky" when I backed out because of a nagging feeling that I had failed to bring it to a proper finish. Over the next decade parts of what became When Colts Ran were published as stories in "The Bulletin", "Best Australian Stories", and "Making Waves: Ten Years of the Byron Bay Literary Festival". Another part won the O. Henry Prize as one of the best twenty stories published in the USA (2008). The accolades encouraged me to bring them together but they had much more in common than a collection of short stories. Then I'd written a story about a rugby playing minister who became a quadriplegic, and another about two boys who witness a horrific car accident. They became part of the mosaic.

Colts, the runaway boy, the title character, passes through the seven ages of man in this novel - he is present in every chapter from adolescence to old age, watching, walking away, coming back, reliable, unreliable, losing himself in drink and dreams, while rousing love, affection, and sometimes terminal exasperation. Colts is my hymn to the virtues of failure, the way life has of conveying hope while "singing of despair" (to adapt Cyril Connolly's phrase on F. Scott Fitzgerald).
While not actually a "book trailer", the book's publisher has released a video of the author talking about the book:

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 15, 2010 4:27 PM.

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when_colts_ran.jpg   Roger McDonald's previous novel, The Ballad of Desmond Kale, won the Miles Franklin Award in 2006, so each new book will be greeted with a high degree of expectation. His most recent novel, When Colts Ran, is now published by Random House. The author spoke to "Booktopia":