In this episode, Kate and Katherine discuss planning your book launch. Kate likes book launches a lot. So much so, she had two! Katherine enjoyed Kate’s launch and can still quote lines from Kate’s speech, which is
frightening impressive. Katherine also asks Kate a pretty big question. It feels like a wedding! It’s the nicest moment on the show so far.
Then Katherine talks with Canberra author, Jack Heath.
As of February 2018, Jack Heath is the 4th bestselling fiction author in Australia. He has written more than twenty action packed books for kids and one ‘disturbing crime novel for adults’. His novels have been nominated for many awards, translated into several languages and optioned for film and television. First published as a teenager, in the course of research Jack has trained with firearms, performed street magic, visited morgues and prisons, travelled, and read only books by woman for a year.
We start by talking about how Jack’s first book, The Lab came to be. Jack was inspired by video games and the books he was then being given to read at school (and didn’t like). About 20,000 words in, Jack’s dad gave him Matthew Riley’s Ice Station to read and realising someone else was writing action thrillers was a revelation.
In the early days of writing, Jack didn’t know any other writers or have any other writing mentors, though he did meet Jackie French when he was in Year six.
The highlights of being published that first time? Jack says getting his first advance check was pretty exciting. It was $4,000, most of which he spent on Marilyn Manson-inspired boots.
Incidentally, that’s Jack’s favourite thing to ask other authors now. When he asked Paulo Bacigaloupi (The Wind up Girl), he said, ‘Straight into the war chest’ (i.e. it went on the mortgage. Bret Easton Ellis on the other hand, went to a bar and said, ‘Drinks are on me,’ and it was gone at the end of the night.
Jack mentions reading Michael Robotham (not pronounced Robot-ham) and then listening to him talk about the craft of writing.
How Jack sees his books is influenced by reviews, or by awards (/shortlistings), not by sales, which he calls a ‘crap shoot’. It reminds me a little of Graeme Simsion’s thinking, actually.
Did you know Jack Heath is a pen name. OR IS IT?
Jack thinks Tara Moss is an author that’s who’s great on social media. She does so many things, promotes them well, is great writer and has a family. And then you have other people like Rosanne Barr (I refuse to link to that).
Jack’s advice for first time novelists is to have fun.