Today we talk to Garrett Addison

Garrett_AddisonQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a forty something, Australian Indie author and also a geek, husband and father. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and have been lucky enough to live in or visit most of Australia and much of the world, but I now live in Melbourne with my family.  I’ve been an Army officer, software consultant and author and so far have written two novels, MINIONS and THE TRAVELLER, with more to come.  I’m a big advocate for the promotion of reading in general (#GetReading) and particularly reading the works of Indie authors and something that might not yet be a best-seller (#ReadDifferent).

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

My latest is ‘The Traveller’, the story of a repressed family man who spends too much time away from home at the whims of a merciless bitch of a boss.  When he is miraculously transformed on what starts as just another trip, he decides it’s time for not only success but also some payback on the one he sees as the bane of his life… revenge and enlightenment ensues!  Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself.

I think readers will like it because it’s very different and has really interesting character evolution with some great twists.  It’s a fun story.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

As I was writing it, the book was always ‘The Traveller’.  When complete, I tried different titles but they all tended to hint too much of the story and I didn’t want to give anything away. 

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

While it’s not biographical by any means, having travelled extensively with work I understood many of the personal and professional stresses on a perpetual traveller very well.  The book actually started as a rant of what I thought of work travel, but then it dawned on me that it created such a great setting for a “what if…” scenario.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

The traveller from ‘The Traveller’ is my favourite … he doesn’t have a name.  He’s an average guy with work/life balance issues who’s long since had his soul crushed by an evil boss.  He’s a bit of train-wreck really and hardly a very likeable character, but he’s just so in his own world that it’s good fun to come along for the ride.  Amid his challenges, the story really shows his growth while away from home.   

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

The traveller blossomed from a great big “what if…”.  Yes, he’s busy and yes, it’s hard balancing work and home life, but what if he was a different person on one particular trip?  Everything evolved from there: what could he get up to and what would he get up to?  A lot of people think it must be autobiographical, but it isn’t.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I want to write different: different stories, different characters and in a different style.  I don’t want to write stories confined to a particular genre or like any other author or featuring familiar or predictable characters.  I want for my readers to escape into stories where preconceptions wont help them and so they can just come along for a ride.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

‘The Traveller’ started on a business trip; some scribbles on an outward flight, some pages in a restaurant late at night, and then some ‘what if’ questions on the return flight.  I knew I had something and I wrote probably 80% of the story on the weekend following my return.  From there, however, it took a few years of rewriting to get right and during this time everything was changed.  Just because I had 80% to build on didn’t mean that any of it was really how it needed to be. 

What inspired me to write it?  I couldn’t keep it in … it just had to be written.  I don’t think ‘The Traveller’ will be the crowning achievement of my writing career, but there’s something special in the story which I hope will see it get some wider appeal. 

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I have always written, but the urge to write novels only really surfaced about ten years ago when I started to get bored with seeing the same stories and characters in what I was reading.  It dawned on me that perhaps this was an indication that I needed to set to work on novels that I’d like to read: if it is to be, it is up to me.  From there, writing became an obsession.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

I only really started to read for enjoyment as an adult, so many of my favourite authors are the ones who helped turned me into a reader.  Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ sparked the reader in me and Lee Child’s ‘Reacher’ books turned me into a reading devotee, ably supported by the books of John Birmingham and Matthew Reilly.  Together, these authors in particular showed me that if I hadn’t been reading for enjoyment then clearly I wasn’t reading the right books.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

I think the hardest part of writing is knowing when something ‘works’, and more correctly, if it doesn’t work, is it workable, by you.  You might have a great idea or have written something that just doesn’t work and the trick is to be able understand how to fix (rewrite) it or accept that what it needs might be beyond you.  Yes, you could possibly keep working away at it for years and maybe, just maybe, turn it into something amazing and the subject of widespread acclaim.  However, I think it’s more likely that you’d get more out of learning from it and moving on, rather than writing off (pun unavoidable) time and effort which could be directed to a potentially better project.

Traditional publishing is harder than ever, but self-publishing has never been easier and is getting easier everyday.  The side effect of this self-publishing simplicity is the sheer volume of new work becoming available.  Meanwhile, it seems reading as a pastime is in decline in a world with so many alternatives to reading, which is very sad.  So there’s all this new material and their authors are vying for the attention of a smaller reader community.  To me, this is a challenge to write books which get more people reading.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Don’t stop, read widely and don’t be too influenced by what you read.  The more you write, the better you will get: you need to keep at it.  Just reading will help your writing more than you can appreciate, and the more you read, the better your writing will become.  The wider you stretch your reading, outside your usual genre or style, the more you’ll broaden or discover of your own capability .  Sure, you might like a particular genre or style, but you really need to read outside that genre to grow your own skills.  Feel free to keep your favourite style and genre, but you’ll need to stretch your reading for your writing development.

As for getting your stories out there, brace yourself for rejection and learn to thrive on it, not just cope with it.  Rejection is par for the course, particularly if you are hell bent on pursuing a traditional publishing deal.  Let it drive or motivate you, not stop you.  Self-publishing doesn’t preclude you from rejection either… ask any author who’s ever received a damning review.  You need to accept that once your work is widely available or accessible, you are going to be subject to scrutiny from outside your immediate circle.  To that point, just because you can self-publish doesn’t mean that you should self-publish as soon as a friend reads your work and tells you how good it is!

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

My current work in progress is shaping up to be a good story of revenge.  It’s a way off being complete so anything could happen, but I’m hoping it will reveal a righteously vengeful character.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

The one which was later attributed to a reversal in the current downward trend of people reading.  I’d love to be the one whose books turned people into readers.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

THE TRAVELLER.  It’s a good fun story of revenge, regret and redemption and more than a little different.  Take an ordinary guy with everyday stresses and an evil female boss, but when he is suddenly a new ‘improved’ version of himself, he gets the chance to get even and reclaim his life.  Revenge never tasted so good.  Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself … because nothing lasts forever.


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