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Interview with Paul Thomas


Paul Thomas is an author and columnist. His seven works of fiction include four novels featuring maverick cop Tito Ihaka; three were republished in 2009 as The Ihaka Trilogy, and Death on Demand was published in 2012.

His work has been widely published internationally and translated into several languages. Fallout is Paul's latest novel.

What is a typical working day for you?

My wife, who has a proper job, goes to work leaving a trail of havoc which I clean up. I take the dog for a walk which is good mental as well as physical exercise. I might do a few chores – e.g. shopping. After lunch I head out to my study (a converted garden shed) and stay there until I’ve met my target for the day.

What are your three favourite books of all time? And why?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Exquisitely written, an apparent affront to morality yet oddly moral, and ultimate proof that, in the right hands, comedy can be mined created from the most unlikely source.

Underworld by Don DeLillo: A monumental work of art that explores Cold War America’s public paranoia and private alienation.

Arguably by Christopher Hitchens: The greatest hits of the bravest and most stimulating public intellectual of our time.

Which author do you admire most? And why?

DeLillo: No-one else comes close matching the contemporary rhythms and cool yet poetic precision of his prose, the depth of his thought or the acuteness of his observations.

What tips would you give aspiring writers?

If you don’t read a lot, you won’t write very much.

What’s your most memorable experience at a Literary Event?

In Tauranga my solo session followed that of a poet who drew a very large crowd. I misinterpreted this as an indication that the good folk of Tauranga had an unlimited appetite for literature in all its forms. My audience, in the same very large space, was barely into double figures. They sat as far away from each other as they possibly could, as if to emphasise my lack of pulling power. It was, by some margin, the longest hour of my life.

If a movie was made of your life, what three songs would you want on the soundtrack?

Backstreets – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

The Fly – U2

Too Sick to Pray – Alabama3

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Fortune favours the brave.

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