Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 5, 2020

Meet an Aussie Author: Richard Anderson

Photo credit: Sally Alden

It’s just a short while since I read and reviewed Richard Anderson’s Small Mercies, and I was keen to find out more about this author who I’d just discovered.  So I was delighted when he agreed to tell all for Meet an Aussie Author!

Richard Anderson did a journalism degree in Bathurst back in the ‘80s (with Chris Hammer, Amanda Keller and Andrew Denton et all) but has been a farmer in northern NSW for close on 30 years.  He is married to Sue, and they have two adult children, Issie and Matt, who both work in the city.

Richard always told himself, he says, that when he got time, he would write a novel… but it wasn’t until he was in his 50s that he completed and self-published his first novel Spon Com Vermillion.  Now 57 years old, he says that because it took him so long to get going, he has more stories than outlets and so is currently working with some film people on other projects. But he is still very much a farmer and writing is something that he does as a pleasure and a complete contrast to the rest of his life.

Richard’s first traditionally published novel was The Good Teacher in 2017 which came out through HQ at Harlequin. In 2018 Scribe published Retribution and then Boxed in 2019. Those two were crime novels, and Small Mercies (Scribe, March 2020) is a change of direction into contemporary fiction.

Here are Richard’s answers to my questions:

1. I was born… in the small town of Boggabri in northern NSW. My parents were farmers not far from town.

2.When I was a child… I scribbled lines in the pages of exercise books before I could actually write

3.The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write… is my agent Jane Novak. My mother encouraged me but she died when I was 25, before I could accomplish anything. To most people around me deciding to write is a bit like taking up lacrosse: fine but why would you?

4. I write in…  our main room at our dining table and in the office.

5. I write when... mostly in the early morning but sometimes at night and occasionally when there’s dust storms, smoke haze, floods or bitter winds.

6. Research is… pretty thin.

7. I keep my published works in… the bookcase

8. On the day my first book was published, I… went back to work.

9. At the moment, I’m writing… an outline for a TV series and a new novel. I’ve already completed my next novel.

10.When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I... go to work or for a drive or a walk. I wrote my first novel driving a coal truck and I find driving on open roads a good way to think about story (but the radio has to be turned off).

This is the view that inspires Richard… it all looks beautifully green at the moment, let’s hope it stays that way.

Thanks for participating, Richard!

PS Thanks to Richard for submitting all this copy exactly as asked, so that I could whip it together without straining my eyes.  I am seeing the specialist tomorrow and although he doesn’t know it yet, he is going to reassure me that this constant headache is going to go away when the other eye gets done next week…



  1. Hi Lisa, it is always great to meet an Aussie author, and a farmer Richard Anderson. Good luck with your eye specialist tomorrow. I hope your headache vanishes and all is well.


  2. I knew I’d written about Boggabri recently – it was Jess White’s home town, must be something in the water.


    • Ah, that’s interesting! I hope the town has plans for Blue Plaques in due course!


  3. Hope your eyes recover soon!


    • So do I! This is really cramping my style *pout*


  4. You will be glad when it’s all over. But it’s worth the bother for the benefits are great. I had mine done about a year ago and it’s brightened up my world. Sure you too will have a good result.


    • Alas, Faye, I can’t notice much difference so far… but I wasn’t expecting to because the cataract was very small. They wouldn’t normally have done it at this stage, but the problem with the high eye pressure can lead to sudden onset glaucoma and irreversible blindness. I’ll put up with a lot to be relieved of that anxiety, but it’s still there in the operated eye which neither the specialist or I were expecting. He’s put me on some different drops today, so we’ll see what happens next…


  5. Just finished Small Mercies and have ordered from my local library his other books
    Coming from the Bush I related with his beautiful descriptions of drought ravaged country, relationship with the land and the pressure on families to hang in there.
    Thank you for such insightful writing.


    • Thank you, Michelle, you’ve made my day:)
      There are other authors who’ve contributed to my understanding of life outside the cities, and I recommend them to you: Rosalie Ham’s last novel The Year of the Farmer, and the novels of Stephen Orr: Hill of Grace, and in particular, The Hands.


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