Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 4, 2020

Meet an Aussie Author: Angus Gaunt

One of the disconcerting aspects of Melbourne’s Stage 4 COVID_19 lockdown is that the rest of the country is rampaging around as normal.  (Well, ok, that is to say, in the new normal.)  It means that they can go to bookshops and browse and stumble on beaut new books and go home with a book in hand … and we can’t.  Down here, in Melbourne, although they may be trading online, the doors of the bookshops are shut.  And although digital LitFests are occasional oases in the desert, we are mostly relying on Readings Monthly and publisher newsletters and yes, blogs like this one, to hear about new books.  Even if they live in states where there are no restrictions, this is especially hard for debut authors because we, the booklovers of Australia’s second biggest city, and a City of Literature into the bargain, are not out and about at book launches or author talks or even gossiping about books over coffee with our friends.

So I’m especially pleased to be able to introduce Angus Gaunt via Meet an Aussie Author.  You will remember Angus… I reviewed his debut novel Black Rabbit just a little while ago.  He lives on the very northern edge of Sydney with his partner and various animals.  His work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies both here and overseas, while three of his novels (but not Black Rabbit…yet, he says!) have been shortlisted for prizes.  In Australia, he was shortlisted for the Vogel and also the CAL Scribe Fiction prize, while in Ireland he was nominated for the Fish Publishing Young-Adult prize.

Angus has three grown-up children, which means he doesn’t have to work in IT any more. To make ends meet he now works as a disability carer and helps run Sappho Books in Glebe. This feels like being retired, however (he says) it has not made him any more productive in his writing.

You can tell that Angus has that distinctively Australian self-deprecating sense of humour…

Here are his answers to my questions:

  1. I was born… in the middle of the night in a small village on the other side of the world that had an unaccountably large hospital.
  2. When I was a child… I read Enid Blyton – she was ahead of her time on so many issues.
  3. The person who encouraged / inspired / mentored me was… me.  Writing has always been a solitary thing. When I showed it to people they’d say helpful things like ‘I quite enjoyed it’. Everything I write now goes to my partner for approval. I trust her judgment and sweat on her decision.
  4. I write in … pencil, on a writing board on my knee, a hangover from when I used to take the train to work and this was the only time I had to write
  5. I write when … I can force myself to. The 1st draft is always painful (like a difficult forceps delivery, said Patrick White). I often wish I could go straight to the 2nd.
  6. Research is… something I like to avoid. I agree with Robert Graves, who said do your research after you’ve written your 1st draft. I don’t worry too much about verifiable facts and historical accuracy – what is the point of writing fiction if you can’t make things up?
  7. I keep my published works… on the shelf, sandwiched between George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh. Why? It’s the only way I can be bracketed with them.
  8. On the day my first book was published… I looked in vain for signs that the world had changed. Luckily we have our own bookshop and some lovely staff commandeered a whole bookcase to display it, complete with cardboard black rabbit.
  9. At the moment, I’m writing…this.   Actually I’m putting the finishing touches to a story collection about a woman whose life is completely uneventful. It’s got bestseller written all over it.
  10. When I ‘m stuck for an idea / word / phrase… I consult an online thesaurus. Love that thesaurus! It’s got all those words that won’t leave the tip of my tongue.

Black Rabbit is published by Ginninderra Press and if you can’t go to a bricks-and-mortar bookshop, you can buy it from Fishpond: Black Rabbit


Responses

  1. I feel for you Lisa being in Melbourne at the moment. Our book shops are open but no reading groups and author events are running low. Because many of the authors have to come from the mainland and we are closed. I could facetime you from Fullers and walk slowly around the shelves and you could pick out some things.😀 I enjoyed this interview. Angus Gaunt has a great sense of humour.

    Like

    • That is a very tempting idea… but alas, I think Facetime is Apple, and I play in the Android sandpit!
      What you could do, with your talent for photography, is take some photos!

      Like

      • I have a Samsung phone too so probably won’t work. I’ll be back with some photos soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this. I have a copy of the book to read … soon. My heart goes out to Victorians: I hope that this lockdown has the effect of slowing down the spread. I also wish that some would focus less on their ‘rights’ and more on their responsibilities. On the other side of this, sometime, we will meet and have coffee and talk about books in person.

    Like

    • Yes indeed, I am long overdue for a visit to the Gallery in Canberra!

      Like


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