We decided it was high time we gave some extra attention some of the wonderful authors who have appeared in WGA panels in the past. But we also wanted to make it easy for them – so we’re asking them 5 questions by email. Our first victim is Lenny Bartulin*, the author of three novels featuring Jack Susko: A Deadly Business, The Black Russian and De Luxe.
*Declaration of bias: Sophie is Lenny’s agent.
1. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it?
I must have been about 14 when I wrote my first real “beginning/middle/end” story. It was for Written Expression at school and we were given a heading that was meant to inspire us – The Day Ned Kelly Came To Town. I told my story from the point of view of a young kid, playing around tha back of buildings in a small country town, when the Kelly Gang ride in and go to the local pub for a booze up. He climbs a crate and looks in through a window. I can’t remember the plot, but I did get a 9.5 out of 10. Still trying to better it now…
2. How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published?
Oh boy, I can even remember the titles! I wrote 3 novels and 1 novella before my ‘first’ book was published. Gotta stick at it, kid…
3. What sorts of books do you love to read?
I pretty much like to give everything a go, except maybe academic dissertations. Mainly it’s fiction, fiction and more fiction, but also poetry and, particularly of late, biographies. The last four books I read were “Wake in Fright”, “Wolf Hall”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, and “Cheever”. All brilliant.
4. If you were forced to co-write a novel with someone (as we’re not presuming that you’d want to co-write with anyone necessarily) who would it be?
Mmm, forced to co-write, huh? My five-year old son would be my first choice. After that, I can only really imagine co-writing for film. Off the top of my head, Richard Price, Elmore Leonard, and whatever the guy’s name is who wrote (and directed) “Withnail and I”. Terrific!
5. What are you working on now and next?
Right now I’m working on an historical novel set in Van Diemen’s Land in 1830. If that doesn’t kill me, next will either be a contemporary heist story set in country NSW, or a crime/young adult novel set in the south of France. May the best story win…