The 5-question interview: CS Boag

CS Boag is the author of The Hood with No Hands (XOUM, 2012).



1. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it? 

Yes. It was called ‘Aunt Maud’, a psychological stream of consciousness thing. I was at uni. It was published in Honi Soit after coming third in a short story competition. George Johnston’s son Martin won.


2. How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published? 

A million. My main problem was a university education – I felt I had to write like all the great authors. I am only just now being me, and even I can see it works.


3. What sorts of books do you love to read? 

Just about anything except Wilbur Smith, Mills & Boon and women-only novels. I like Patrick White after I’ve read him more than during. Love spy novels – Len Deighton, some le Carre, etc. Have read everything Graham Greene ever wrote. Ditto John Updike. Forcedly comic novels are a pain, but love Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and E.L. Doctoreau (particularly Ragtime). Of the oldies, H.G.Wells’s History of Mr Polly, Tono Bungay and short stories, but none of his quickie romances; Dickens’s Bleak House, but think he went over the top with most other novels; Tolstoy’s War and Peace (had to keep a running list of characters, though); and Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea (except it didn’t survive rereading in adulthood).


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? 

Doctoreau, because he can write like an angel and I think he might indulge me. He has a sense of humour. Maybe also Larry McMurtrie, who darts off so sweetly on whimsical tangents. Otherwise probably no-one, because like most other writers I am fiercely my own person.


5. What are you working on now and next? 

Just finishing second in Rainbow series – Death of a Ladies’ Man – to be followed by third in the series: Horses for Corpses. If I can fit it in, want to write a sort of Catch-22 of Australian private schooldays in the 1950s, the wacky font of many of today’s leading lights of commerce, law, politics and criminality.


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