The obvious question: who is ‘The Traveller’?
Everyone asks if it’s based on me, but it’s not, that’s for sure. He’s a bastard, but I can’t deny that some of his stresses are familiar. In much the same way, the terrible boss isn’t really anyone in particular, but she’s got unlikeable traits from probably every person I’ve ever met.
So where did the idea for ‘The Traveller’ come from?
I’d actually finished my first book and did what I thought I was supposed to do; put it in a drawer so that I could re-read and start editing with a fresh perspective. I wasn’t expecting to feel the ‘need’ to write, so there I was, overseas, travelling with work and a podcast preaching the need to ‘write what you know’ strong in my head, so I started writing what I knew. Fuelled with a few beers late one night after work, I started with a few travelling anecdotes and what I thought of business travel. It passed the time, but on my return flight I wondered what a few ‘what ifs’ in the story would do. What if your boss was pure evil? What if you got a chance to get even? What if it didn’t work out just as it you’d wanted? The makings of what I thought was a good fun story really flowed and I wrote most of the first draft over a weekend.
So what is the difference between the first draft and how it is now?
A hell of a lot. I’m a ‘pantser’ and wrote the story without plotting it out, so the first draft was all over the place. The analogy of the great sculptor with a rock who foresaw something he could get to with a chisel does NOT apply. To turn it into something coherent and worthwhile required many drafts.
What’s something that readers of ‘The Traveller’ don’t know?
It might interest readers to know that the story has a lot less sex and violence than it did have! I had to cut a number of what I thought were great scenes because they were simply too gratuitous and didn’t help the story.
How do you describe your writing style?
Different. I don’t want to write formulaic fiction, so that is in the back of my head as I write and it affects the way I see my characters and how I want them to be received. I don’t think I’m consciously trying to break every rule, but I do think that some of those rules need to be challenged. The side effect is that I need to contend with the reality that my stories probably won’t neatly fit a single genre.
Has your wife read ‘The Traveller’?
Would you believe, no. She’s picked up on many aspects of the story from me talking with others about it and at times she’s been cast me a glare or two wondering if there’s any truth in it. It took some of her friends to console her that she probably doesn’t have too much to worry about. Earlier versions probably would have seen me divorced, sacked, blacklisted by airlines and banned from a long list of countries.
Who are your favourite authors?
Lee Child, John Birmingham, Matthew Reilly and Tim Winton. I discovered reading as an adult and it took the books from authors like these to see that books could be fun, interesting or exciting, and not a chore, and each of these authors showed me something. While I don’t really want to write like each of them, I’d like to think that I can write enjoyable reads that might appeal to a wide audience, especially to people who might not have discovered reading yet.
How do you cope with bad reviews?
I consider them to be inevitable with me putting my stories out there widely, particularly if I’m writing books deliberately different. That said, I try to look for the good in the reviews and have been lucky enough to have received positive “bad” reviews.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
There’s something addictive about writing that people who don’t write can’t comprehend. The story element is part of it, but then there’s what you can do with language. I love how you can conjure a person out of nothing and by what they say and do you can render them good, bad or indifferent. I didn’t realise how amazing the writing process really was until I needed a really nasty character (in my first novel ‘Minions’). It’s not enough to make him wear a black hat, because everyone knows that bad guys wear the black hat. So how do convey in words that he’s the baddie? You can’t say “he’s a bad guy”, you need to show it… without being clichéd, boring, predictable, formulaic, or familiar.
I want to write more revenge, but the next one is a lot darker than ‘The Traveller’. I want to write nasty bad-guys and dubious good-guys.
Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself.
A family man struggling in his pursuit of a work/life balance embarks on yet another trip at the whims of his tyrannical bitch of a boss. But on this trip he is a world apart from his usual self. Suddenly confident, capable and unafraid of his manager, reclaiming his life becomes less about corporate advancement and satisfying his ego than outright revenge on his boss. With nothing but success in his wake and seemingly limitless potential at his disposal, being coerced to work with his nemesis in a remote corner of the world provides the opportunity for not just a confrontation, but a final solution to what he sees as the bane of his life. Succeed or fail, either way this trip will be the making of him or the end of him.
Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself... because nothing lasts forever.
Garrett is forty something, Australian, and also a geek, husband, father and novelist. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and has been lucky enough to live in or visit most of Australia and much of the world. He now lives in Melbourne with his family.
Not averse to change, thus far, he has been an Army officer, software consultant and author. But this is just the beginning.
He is inspired by wise words:
· Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. - Confucius
· Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. - Goethe
He's already a novelist. Now he's working on getting his stories out there to be enjoyed.