From the outback to the opera.
After a thirty year career as a professional opera singer, performing as a soloist in opera houses and in concert halls all over the world, I took up a position as lecturer in music in Australia in 1999, at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, which is now part of CQUniversity.
Brought up in Australia, between the bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs, I retired in 2015 and now live in the tropics, writing, gardening, and finally finding time to enjoy life and to re-establish a connection with who I am after a very busy career on the stage and as an academic.
I write mostly historical gay fiction in two distinct styles; books that are erotic and those that leave things up to the reader’s imagination. The stories are always about relationships and the inner workings of men; sometimes my fellas get down to the nitty-gritty, sometimes it’s up to you, the reader, to fill in the blanks.
Every book is story driven; spies, detectives, murders, epic dramas, there’s something for everyone. I also love to write about my country and the things that make us Aussies and our history different from the rest of the world.
I’m fairly obsessed with research, in fact is the driving forces behind the creation of my stories and the people in my books, and because of that, I always try to do my best to give the reader a sense of what life was like for my main characters and the world they live in.
Being a musician, I’ll share snippets of music that relate to the stories with you. Perhaps while you enjoy the loves and losses of my characters, you might also discover something wonderful that you’ve never heard before, and learn to love it too.
Welcome to my world. I hope you enjoy the journey.
“Six deaths, if we include his, my father’s, and Fabrice’s, Andy,” I whispered. “All because of a simple, insignificant error of judgement—Fabrice Evans just gave the wrong address to a madman.”
A wrongly delivered letter sparks a chain of events that threaten the life of Edward Murray, “Australia’s Son”, the most renowned operatic baritone of his day.
It is 1902, and Edward has just returned to the Metropole Hotel after a performance of La Bohème at the Theatre Royal in Sydney, when the manager phones his apartment to tell him the police have arrived with bad news.
Edward, and his vaudeville performer brother, Theodore, are shocked to hear that Edward’s dresser, the brothers’ oldest friend from childhood, has been found dead, stabbed in the back, in Edward’s recently vacated dressing room.
Following a sequence of gruesome killings, Edward and the detective assigned to protect him, Chief Constable Andrew Bolton, are lured into a trap by a man whose agenda is not only personal, but driven by a deranged mind.
The silver lining for Edward during these grisly events is the smell of tar and honey, and the promise of a special friendship with the man tasked with keeping him out of harm’s way.
Set around the theatre world of early Edwardian Sydney, the story is steeped in the world of class divides, of music and the theatre, and what it was to be a performer at the turn of the twentieth century. Its themes of murder, treachery and foul play, are ofttimes confronting, but the story is linked throughout by Edward Murray, the man with the golden voice, whose overarching belief is that even in the darkest of times, a sliver of light can mean that hope is at hand.
Brad Shreve 0:00
This episode Garrick Jones talks about going from opera to author and Justene reviews our first triple hitter recommendation.
Welcome to Gay Mystery Authors with Brad Shreve featuring interviews with some of the most renowned authors and up and coming talent in LGBTQ mysteries, suspense and thrillers. Plus, Justene is here with her weekly recommendation.
Brad Shreve 0:37
Before we get to Justene’s reviews, want to remind everybody Jon Michaelsen was our guest last week and his interview was on Thanksgiving Day. So during the busy holiday weekend, you may have missed it. You should go back and check it out. He talks about his latest Kendle Parker mystery The Deadwood Murders, is a great interview. The Deadwood murders is currently on preorder and it releases tomorrow on December 6, so be sure to check that out. And we’re going to go right to Justene, you have some things to talk about ReQeered Tales.
Well, ReQueered Tales has Dead On Your Feet, which is the third in the Stan Kraychik series by Grant Michaels. It is available on pre order and it will release on Tuesday, December 10.
Brad Shreve 1:28
Okay, and you also will give us a review on Greg Herren,
Greg Heren’s newest book, Greg Herren is one of the more well known and one of the best authors in the gay mystery genre. He’s won two Lambda awards, and he’s been nominated for 10 other awards.
Brad Shreve 1:49
We need we need to get him on the show.
That would be terrific. He’s got some long running mystery series, the Chanse MacLeod series and also the Scotty Bradley mysteries. When it comes to readers, some people prefer the chance MacLeod and some people prefer the Scotty Bradley. You know, I think you should try and both Brad and see which one you like. And you’ll probably like them both enough to read them through. So the Scotty Bradley mystery is the newest book is out. Royal Street Reveillon. It came out in September. The first Scotty Bradley mystery came out in 2003. And when I first discovered Greg Herren, only the third book was available in ebooks. And he released the first book again as an ebook last year. But the second book in the series, Jackson Square Jazz is isn’t out in ebook yet. This one, I couldn’t figure out what kind of recommendation to give us. it qualifies for a glowing recommendation and a thrilling recommendation and an intriguing recommendation. I was hoping for flaming, but there was no flaming in this book. It is a straight mystery,
Brad Shreve 2:58
But he’s the one only first one to get three ratings.
Yeah, he’s it. This is really a phenomenal book. And I would look for it in the Lambda awards this year. We’ll see if it gets nominated, but I suspect it will.
Brad Shreve 3:12
Anything more can tell us about the story.
I can. So the Scotty Bradley is an ex Go Go dancer. Because the first book came out in 2003. He’s now over 40 and regretting the aging a little bit but coming to terms with it. He’s he’s part of a circle. He is living with his ex FBI turned professional wrestler boyfriend Frank, and his undercover Black Ops guy named Colin and they also have living with them. Frank’s nephew Taylor, so that that’s the basic setup of characters. There are some wonderful minor characters including Scotty’s parents, who are old hippies and who whenever you go to their house they’re smoking good marijuana out of a dragon bong and they always offer for offer everybody some and they send some home with Scotty and they approach life in and they’re wise hippie valued ways they make wonderful minor characters. The premise of the story is the Grand Dames series is launching new franchise Grand Dames of New Orleans and it’s it’s a thinly disguised Real Housewives series. And he and Taylor are going to the premiere and by morning there were not one, not two, but three murders, some of which may be related all which may be related. They all have things in common but maybe not. So we started off with a bang with those three murders.
Brad Shreve 4:51
I like a good body count.
And over Yeah, the body count rises over the time and it gets the intriguing mystery because there’s no shortage of suspects, no shortage of motives. The killer is well hidden. Just a wonderful book. It’s a well crafted mystery and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Brad Shreve 5:11
Well it sounds good because you lost me there for a second when you said Go Go dancer but then
Ex Go Go dancer. In New Orleans, I gotta tell you, you know it’s I can’t believe you’re holding it against them.
Brad Shreve 5:27
Oh, no, I’m not holding it against them at all. Just that’s where my mind when But no, I You brought me right back and it sounds like a great story.
Now remember he’s an ex Go Go dancer. There’s no flaming recommendation on this book.
Brad Shreve 5:39
Okay, that’s fine. He’s got a triple so that’s nothing to complain about there.
Yes, it’s it’s a well crafted mystery. I think you’ll enjoy it. You don’t need to read the rest of the series to know what’s going on. And he doesn’t do a lot of backstory. They’ll say, Well, I was kidnapped before. Well, that’s a slow story. Well, I was this before. Well, that’s another long story. And then he just keeps going.
Brad Shreve 6:07
And you know, I love that. It drives me crazy when there’s a series and you can’t just pick up one in the middle. So, right it makes me happy to hear.
And it also drives me crazy when all of a sudden they’re interrupting the story to give you a summary of the plot.
Brad Shreve 6:19
So I think he’s he handles that all very well.
Brad Shreve 6:24
Well, it sounds like a winner.
It is so pick it up for a holiday read.
Brad Shreve 6:30
Well, I have Garrick Jones coming up calling in from down under for my interview today.
I gave his review a glowing recommendation at the very start of this started the podcast. first episode. I think that it’s going to be a great interview.
Brad Shreve 6:46
Yes, you gave him the glowing review for The Cricketer’s Arms and we are talking about Australia’s Son. This time around. It’s newest novel that just came out.
Is that a mystery?
Brad Shreve 6:59
It is a mystery.
I’m looking forward to it. He does a fine mystery
Brad Shreve 7:03
that he does. So, kick back and relax and enjoy it.
Okay, see you next week.
Brad Shreve 7:07
Okay, I’ll see you then.
You can keep up with the Gay Mystery Authors on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Links are on our website. gaymysteryauthors.com
Brad Shreve 7:25
My guest today is Garrick Jones. Garrick says he went from the outback to the opera. After a 30 year career as a professional opera singer performing an opera houses and in concert halls all over the world. He took up a position as lecturer in music at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of music in Australia, brought up between the bush and the beaches of the eastern suburbs. He now lives in the tropics in peaceful environment. Hello, Garrick.
Garrick Jones 7:51
Brad Shreve 7:54
How are things in the tropics today?
Garrick Jones 7:56
Very hot and very humid.
Brad Shreve 8:00
Well, it still sounds lovely and I’m a little bit jealous I believe.
Garrick Jones 8:03
I’m staring up my office window into all the palm trees and hybiscus flowers and heliconia is not a bad place to be. Well,
Brad Shreve 8:13
now I am jealous. So yeah, love it in. Let me start out. You’ve written dramas story of espionage, erotica, and two mysteries. Yeah. And you have a third one on the blade on the way, correct?
Garrick Jones 8:31
Yes, I have Oh, look I’ve got at the moment with the editor in the UK is my book about clash of indigenous and European cultures in Australia immediately after the Second World War. But at the moment, I’m also writing the sequel to The Cricketer’s Arms which is the first mystery that I published earlier in the year
Brad Shreve 8:54
well what is it about mysteries that you find interesting,
Garrick Jones 8:56
I was thinking about this the other day while listening to the last podcast. I was brought up with a grandmother who was in the we didn’t get TV in Australia until 1956 when the first Olympic Games are held here in Melbourne, so before that when I was growing up, it was the radio. And every Sunday night there was a radio mystery play. And my grandmother used to sit there clacking her needles and knitting and about five minutes into the broadcast she’d always say, the husband did it, or the valet did it. I was brought up with this spoiler of a grandmother and I just really got interested in mysteries and I’ve mostly read in my life sci fi mysteries or police thrillers, procedurals.
Brad Shreve 9:44
Well, that’s interesting. Any sci-fi coming up?
Garrick Jones 9:48
I started on a sci fi but I put it to one side, it’s gonna need a lot of work. I read the first three chapters, I got straight into the sex and I thought no has to wait to come a bit later. So that’s in the queue.
Brad Shreve 10:03
Well, your most recent novel, as you said, is Australia’s Son. Yeah. And that’s currently available. What can you tell us about the story?
Garrick Jones 10:12
The story is authentic Edwardian. That’s certainly within period. For those of you in the US, that’s the period that we call from 1900 through to 1914 when Edward the seventh came to the throne, and that I don’t know what you do call it that period over the same period over there.
Brad Shreve 10:30
Yes, we do. I will say it’s not used very often, except when we’re talking about architecture,
Garrick Jones 10:36
rather. So it said in that period, and it’s set in 1902, and it’s a story it’s a theater, murder mystery. It’s a story of Australia’s most famous baritone, who comes home from the theater after performance and the police arrived early in the morning to tell him that his dresser, that’s the person who works in the theater with you, helping you in and out of your costumes has been found dead. Sitting in his chair in the theater. And that’s the start of the story.
Brad Shreve 11:04
Now the non novelist protagonist, Edward Murray. Yes, he is an opera singer. That’s right. And other than the time era, his career seems very much like yours. How much of you would you say is an Edward?
Garrick Jones 11:18
Well, a lot of it. Ever since I started writing, I’ve been encouraged to write about my history as a performer. But quite honestly, there’s so many people still alive, I think I’d end up in the court being sued. So I thought this was a way around, writing a story about what was like to be in the theater before about the 1990s when everything became computerized, when I first started performing in the late 1960s, everything was pretty well the way it was right through to the end of Victorian period, except for electric lighting Of course, but it was stagehands doing everything. These days, people set up in a booth at the back of their press buttons and it’s all pre worked out. All the set changes are all elected clinically operated. So there’s quite a different feeling the theater back then it was very, very busy backstage, a lot of people would be very surprised to see how much went on behind the curtain that they weren’t aware of at the front. For example, in the wings, you could turn on the beat the dozen people on either side, going about the business while you’re performing. And I wanted to write about that. And I thought the story is based on, on fact, a friend of mine in Stuttgart. When I was singing in Germany, he, his best friend was killed in a dressing room. And that story always stuck to me. During the performance somebody sneaked in the back door and killed this guy in the dressing room. And I thought this would make a good story one day, so I thought I’d combine my history of being a performer what it’s like to be a performer because you don’t get to read about that very much. With a murder mystery, it seemed like killing two birds with one stone. The interesting thing of course, is that the victim The dresser works as Edward Murray’s double. Sometimes they need a double a preferred person is exactly the same size and shape and where the costumes to do things on the stage made up to appear to be the singer. And in this case, it’s a case of mistaken identity the killer thinks he’s killed Edward Murray but in fact, he’s killed his best friend the dress up instead. So the story is all about trying to find out why and who it is trying to kill him.
Brad Shreve 13:30
You’ve had a very interesting and successful career thing in opera houses around the world. And you’ve now become a writer. What what backstory.
Garrick Jones 13:41
That’s an interest. That’s another thing I stopped to think about. I grew up in a period in the 1950s when the only way of communicating with other people was by writing letters, obviously no emails. We lived at million miles from anywhere. So there was the telephone was a luxury so to Communicate with anybody we, we wrote letters. And so the art of writing was something that was concentrated upon very heavily at school, both in primary school and high school. And in those days, people were judged not only by the way they presented themselves, like how well they were dressed, but also how will they communicate? So letter writing was an enormous skill when you applied for a job. You were shortlisted, I suppose, by your ability to, to put down words correctly. So I started writing and I’d always been interested in research. So while I was performing, I did my undergraduate degree and to master’s degree in studying a PhD, while I was performing writing in dressing rooms, and all of my supervisors comments back with gee you’re right. Well, this is really good writing. What did you think about writing a textbook? I did write a textbook and then when I retired six years ago, I thought, I’m going to have a go a step at writing a novel. And that’s when my first book The seventh of December was written. And I didn’t know it was going to be any good or not. I just wrote it. And no one was surprised to me to find out that an editor or publisher really loved it and decided to publish it.
Brad Shreve 15:12
Did you do any writing earlier that perhaps you didn’t put towards the publisher or try to publish?
Garrick Jones 15:18
Yes, I will only my first book only came out last this time last year 12 months ago. And before that, in the six years since I retired, oh, I wrote nine books, but I didn’t send them to anyone. Because I didn’t know if it was any good or not. I mean, like every writer in the world, I suffer from imposter syndrome. And it was only when I somebody a friend of mine Alexander and off I don’t know if you know him is another writer who writes this guy books encouraged me to send something to him. And basically the check the German and it because I was writing dialogue in both French and in German. And he said, You need to Have this professionally edited, go through the process, see what it’s like, get the story refined, and then send it to an editor. And it was through him that I sent it off and blow me down. The publisher said, we love this. What else have you got?
Brad Shreve 16:14
Well, I haven’t read Australia’s Son yet, but having read your other novels, I think we should thank him because he was right on target, you do a fine job.
Garrick Jones 16:24
Oh, thanks, Brad.
Brad Shreve 16:25
Now, what surprised you about becoming an author
Garrick Jones 16:30
That the writing is the easiest part of the whole process. It’s all the other crap that you have to put…not crap is not a good word. But all of the self promoting at the end once the books are getting your name out there getting people to read your books, getting people to comment on upon it. That’s the hard part. I think it’s not so much the writing, which to me, for me is very, very enjoyable. I love writing. It’s all the other stuff that goes around and in the background is that terrible fear of we have in Australia of self promoting, we don’t like it. There’s something in our makeup that doesn’t allow us to want to appear better than anybody else around us. We call it the tall poppy syndrome.
Brad Shreve 17:16
Well, and I think artists in general are not marketers in their blood and unfortunately, it has to be part of the job.
Garrick Jones 17:24
Oh yeah, there’s so much about and even if you get it, the interesting part is getting this group of people finding your niche in writing, finding the type of people who appreciate the way that you put the words on the page, the way that you string together your thoughts. I write all of the stuff that I write is driven from the character that’s where it comes from. I’m interested in people I always have been, and that comes from being a performer. When we’re rehearsing an opera director, he’s a very good one will ask you the motivation. We hit this thing all the time about actors of motivation, but What causes somebody to do something? Even when we’re sitting down at a desk and we go, don’t make a cup of tea, there’s a thought that goes through our minds that makes us want to get up from our chair, walk to the kitchen, have a cup of tea on and is that thought I’m thirsty? Or is it I need a break. So there’s a motivation between behind everything we do. And that’s the point from which I do all of my writing. What drives the character?
Brad Shreve 18:25
Well, one thing you told me previously is that you love to write about your country, and the thing that makes Aussie’s and their history different from the rest of the world. Could you elaborate on that?
Garrick Jones 18:37
Yeah, for sure. When I first looked, the first cable I have discovered was a book called The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley. And I bought it in the book sale Believe it or not, when they’re selling secondhand books outside the Air Force Base in Wiesbaden but the American Air Force Base, my so this book, and I read the back cover and it’s a love story between To trapezes in the 1950s, and it was the first gay book other than Jean Genet and that the people that ilk in the 1950s that I’ve read, and it’s I became interested that’s what my whole life I spend interpreting heterosexual relationships into the relationships that I have, which are relationships with other men, gay relationships. And I wanted to read more, and there was plenty of American and UK stuff up, but for the life of me I could not find much Australian literature written about my country. And through gay eyes. There’s a lot of insightful stuff about the AIDS crisis, but there was nothing about what sort of like normal blokes and the way that men fall in love. I wanted to read stuff about it. And when I couldn’t find anything, I thought maybe I should write something. And that’s where my series The Boys of Ballaroo started from that point.
Brad Shreve 19:53
Well, I can tell you in reading your novels, you definitely get a feel, at least what I believe would be like being in Australia But have you found yourself perhaps subconsciously, writing for an audience beyond the borders of Australia?
Garrick Jones 20:07
This is something I think about a lot, Brad and a lot of people who live in other countries don’t think about that you and I have an ongoing friendship. And I’m often writing to you. And I said, What does this mean? When I see American slang, I remember though, the one that “gnarly” that was the recent one, I asked you about what you take for granted that you understand people in other countries may not. So when I read American literature, I’m often having to go and find a reference point for other points of interest or words that are used within the text that I don’t understand. So I think it’s the color and the flavor, your own book, A Body in a Bathhouse, I looked up several things in that you and I had a conversation about the word the use of the word kettle, for example, that gave me a color and an idea of your country and the people about whom you are writing. So I feel that when I’m writing about Australia, I shouldn’t try and translate words that are instantly available to people who come from other cultures. But give them a chance, like I need to do is to actually explore a bit and find out what that word means. I think Justene when she was doing review on The Cricketer’s Arms, mentioned, “did you know what sly grogging” was? Know? Anybody in Australia knows what a sly grogger is, but that’s a bit of color. And from that experience, Justene went and read more just about the, the meaning of the word but what its associated with, and therefore got a better idea of the picture I was creating on the page. Does that make sense?
Brad Shreve 21:35
It makes perfect sense. You stay true to yourself, is what you’re saying?
Garrick Jones 21:39
Yeah, I can’t be anybody else. I can, I can only pull bits of me up and put them on the page. Often, I think I told you, I I spent two years writing a book which I finished recently about a man with OCD and PTSD, which just told me a part two, right. I don’t know if it’s going to be Go anywhere. But I went through a really cathartic experience and almost a therapeutic experience writing that book to get out a lot of my inner demons. And I think that every writer does that no matter what they’re writing about, we pull stuff outside from the inside out, through our words, and, and expose ourselves upon the page.
Brad Shreve 22:20
I do want to let listeners know that Garrick does occasionally asked me what particular sentences and phrases mean. And occasionally he even stumped me when it’s an American term. But I getting back to what you just said, I do agree. As you know, my protagonist, in my first story, also had PTSD, which I do not have, but I deal with some of the same demons. And so I do definitely understand where you’re coming from. And I agree with you that much of what you write does need to come from within,
Garrick Jones 22:51
if you want to be true. We can look at sitcoms on the TV and none of us think that that’s actually true, but then we look at some really good drama on the TV or in a film or something. And we instantly relate to that doesn’t matter what culture you come from. There’s something intrinsic about emotions that people from every culture can understand on the screen. And hopefully, when you’re writing, that’s what you’re hoping to do. You’re hoping to expose part of genuine humility to other people, so they’re associated with it. That might sound very grand, but that’s the way I go about writing. I tried to write from something with inside.
Brad Shreve 23:29
No, I would agree with you there. There’s a saying “to write what you know”. And and I believe that true definitely in the beginning, but if you continue to write what you know, you’re going to write, you’re going to run out of things to write about. So you need to do a little study and find other things to tell a story. But in the end, it’s still human feelings and human actions and
Garrick Jones 23:49
For sure, that’s, that’s what motivates every everybody on God’s Earth. We have the same sort of drama, theatre, poetry, prose, no matter what language or culture we come from, sort of got those same basic feelings.
Brad Shreve 24:05
I know you have a passion for research and authenticity, how much of your time is spent conducting research.
Garrick Jones 24:12
Most my time this morning, the two hours I’ve been waiting to speak to you I’ve been researching about the Romani culture, I have to be careful because people in the UK find the word Gypsy very politically incorrect. So in the current story that I’m writing the sequel to The Cricketers Arms, which is called the Gilded Madonna. I’m researching what true Romany culture, fortune telling spirituality is all about. And I’d say that most of my day when I’m not actually putting down on words on the page is researching. Because I can tell you what, as having been a performer for 30 years, if you do something on the stage, or the director asks you to do something on the stage or your costume isn’t quite right. And that somebody in the audience will pick that up and they’ll write to you about it. Someone will let you know if you make a mistake in your books about history, or things that happened to a particular point in time somebody will let you know. That’s the sort of world we live in.
Brad Shreve 25:15
Oh, yeah, you are correct there. What’s your process, generally speaking,
Garrick Jones 25:20
okay, for research, I get an idea like this current book. I’m researching the idea of Clyde Smith, who’s the protagonist, being caught up wondering whether there is really some sort of thing behind the thought behind the whole feeling of another world where the people can tell fortune so whether they can’t and his struggle to try and justify things that seem to be unknowable by anybody else, but himself with possibilities of how people could find out those facts and use them to their own effect. So I did a lot of research into what’s the word when people Pick up stuff and they can like until what it means by Well, I can predict the future or the past by feeling it. There’s a special word for it’s got from my mind immediately
Brad Shreve 26:12
Garrick Jones 26:14
No that’s, that’s really,
Brad Shreve 26:16
I’m not sure the exact word. It’s escaping me. But I know I know what you’re talking about. Like they pick they pick up a watch and they can tell us
Garrick Jones 26:23
there’s a special word for like, I’m stupid. I’ve been writing about it the past week.
That’s what happens when you’re put on the spot.
Yeah, so I wanted to explore this idea of the supernatural world and how it can overlap into the present world, the reality the real world, let me put it like that. I mean, we’ve only got to look at Nancy and Ronald Reagan and see how they ran your country with mediums and fortune tellers and stuff. And to them, that was a real real thing. It wasn’t the way that I might look at it with a bit of skepticism. They believed in that. So I wanted to explore that in this book. So what I did was I started to read about it. And I started to discover some of the minor traits of people from the Romani culture at that animals about touching about giving things and offering things to other people about the way they speak. And so that every little trail everything that you read, like I read this thing about them not allowing animals to sit on their lap. And I thought, That’s really interesting. Where does that come from? Then I started to do research on that. And then that led to another research trail. So making notes from that in the wonderful program that you told me about One Note, I get a research trail, which then gives me ideas to move forward on the story with
Brad Shreve 27:46
Well, you may have already answered this question, but what is the most interesting thing you’ve learned in your research?
Garrick Jones 27:53
What is the most interesting thing I’ve learned in my research as far as the most effective Interesting thing I learned in my research was about Edward the Eighth, who married Wallis Simpson and went on to be the governor of the Bahamas during the Second World War and how they had the crown the King George the sixth, put a guard on the island to keep an eye on his brother because he thought that the Germans might attempt to kidnap him by submarine and bring him back to Germany to be part of the Third Reich because he was very pro Nazi. That was the thing that surprised me the most. So there was an armed guard there with a gun with orders to shoot the king if the Nazis managed and smuggling away by submarine.
Brad Shreve 28:43
Well, you are always full of interesting facts that is fascinating. So what’s the most humorous thing you’ve learned?
Garrick Jones 28:50
The most humorous thing that I’ve learned. Let me think that I he’s dead now. So I can talk about a I used to sing with a very large Italian tenor, who was very standoffish and actually put him into Australia’s Son with a different name. And he used to have terrible digession and used to fart really, really loudly on the stage. And, you know, the audience couldn’t hear it. But we did a performance of an opera Cendrillion which was Cinderella, basically. And there was a lot of session right at the end where we all had to kneel down in a pause and total silence and bow to this girl who had been the chimney sweep returning the princess. And this total silence he let it rip so loudly hit the back of the theater. And not only did we laughed at the audience laughed and the opposite of that laughter slowly couldn’t go on. So there was a real real life experience that wasn’t research.
Brad Shreve 29:54
That’s a good enough story. I don’t care whether it was researcher would love to have been there.
Garrick Jones 29:58
That was actually the King’s Theater that I remember very, very clearly.
Brad Shreve 30:02
Now what writers have inspired you.
Garrick Jones 30:05
Several, I suppose, from sci fi, there’s a radical Greg Bear, who’s relatively unknown. And Frank Herbert, of course. Greg Bear wrote a series called Eternity Eon, which is a combination of time travel and meeting other races, the active throughout the universe. And he had a very clever way of writing which I really like. I saw through the fantastical and into the people behind that made the story go forward. And Frank Herbert, of course, the Dune series extraordinary writing, then for crime, there’s an American female writer who I absolutely love. She writes a bit of romance and I’m not fond of her romance, but she writes terrific police procedurals, in which the protagonist is a very strong, capable woman. There’s always fighting the men trying to put her down. Especially to my two favorite fiction writers. I’ve got a lot of her books. And I’ve got a lot of Greg Bears books and Frank Herbert’s books as well.
Brad Shreve 31:12
Are there any gay or queer Mystery Writers that you enjoy?
Garrick Jones 31:16
I found it very, very difficult. I’ve read. I’ve been reading a book by John Inman at the moment. I think you called it a Cozy Mystery and said in a haunted house, which the murderer has to be one of the people that within the haunted house in which they’re all trapped. But of recent years I have since I listened finished work since I started writing myself. I found it very tough, hard to have time to read. I don’t know if you’re the same. I try to that my time is mostly spent writing. And so when I do have spare time, I’m too exhausted. So but I do have a list of books I want to read. Jon Michaelsen’s books, any number of books and I want to read the finding the time when I can devote myself to reading is really big tough at the moment.
Brad Shreve 32:07
Yeah, I had this conversation with the interview with Gregory Ashe and in it is that the writer we know it’s very important to keep up with our craft and, and should study it. But at the same time, if you’re writing how do you have time to read? It’s conflicting.
Garrick Jones 32:21
I’ve got four books on the go at the same time at the moment in various stages of preparation for publication. So that’s juggling. That’s a bit of a nightmare. But mind you, it’s a right of my own making. I understand that and I’m happy to put my hand up and say, even though I get frustrated and annoyed with myself, I love every minute of it.
Brad Shreve 32:40
Now one thing about you and I meant brought this up earlier, the different genres, most writers find a niche genre and they stick with it. And you haven’t. Do you believe you’ll continue to write a variety types of novels?
Garrick Jones 32:54
Yes, I’ve got the stories come out of the ideas. I know that sounds like studying the bloody bleeding obvious, but it’s true the ideas sticks in my mind. And from that story sort of more or less makes itself I can’t make forward into the genre. If it’s not about the genre. This next book of mine to come out The House with 1000 Stairs, is based on my childhood growing up with the indigenous country now back Australia, combined with being brought up in a family that basically lived the way that they had done in the 1880s right up until the 1950s. So it’s a combination of living with the land and living with the indigenous community around them. So I wanted to write a story about indigenous spirituality and how that crosses into white man’s life. And what it’s like to be a European person looking within, into that indigenous culture from the outside, which was My position is a young man.
Brad Shreve 34:01
Well, now we have reached my favorite part of the interview. Awkward Questions Authors Get. And you told me before you your little nervous about this one.
Garrick Jones 34:17
I make jokes, but I can’t find them looking on my computer screen.
Brad Shreve 34:21
Oh, you’d have no idea where I’m going.
Garrick Jones 34:22
Brad Shreve 34:24
Okay, so let’s spin the wheel here.
Okay, this one’s not too hard. I don’t think your question is “Writing books nice and all, but don’t you have any real hobbies?”
Garrick Jones 34:43
Well, actually, I do.
Last year, I thought I you know, I play the piano, having been a musician. I still teach singing one day a week privately. So playing the piano gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. I actually started off to be concert pianist. And then up that I had an accident, which involved injuring my right hand. So that’s how I came to be a singer, the head of the conservatory and said to me, Well, you’re never going to progress to be a concert pianist. What else can you do that doesn’t involve your arm? I know singing. So the artistic output has to do. Activity hobby has to do with either playing the piano, or Photoshop, which I’ve discovered, and I’ve been doing courses for the past year on Photoshop, and I really, really love that.
Brad Shreve 35:31
Well, I want to say I’m sorry that you had the trouble with your hand but having heard some of your singing, the world is blessed that you found that as so called as the so called hobby, which I think is way beyond that. Now, Australia’s Son we said is your most recent novel, where can we readers purchase a copy?
Garrick Jones 35:53
It’s available in all major bookstores both online and I think some of the in Australia the physical bookstores, stocking it with any online bookstore and including Amazon Smashwords Kobo Kindle Apple available through all platforms
Brad Shreve 36:13
All the major ones.
Garrick Jones 36:14
Yeah both the book and in, in paperback copy funnily enough in Australia with very, very fond of paperback still I know that’s not so much the case in the US and UK and Europe these days but paperbacks is still very, very popular here and I have a number of people writing in say, The Seventh of December, for example, is not available in paperback. A lot of people say, oh, we’ll wait we’ll get that with a copy in paperback. I suppose it’s that thing of laying back in the warm summer days in Australia with your feet up in a hammock and reading a book.
Brad Shreve 36:46
Well, I will tell you there are some people that would argue with you on on the not liking in the book and other parts of the world. I made no hesitation tell people I much prefer Kindle because I like being able to stick it in my pocket but I know plenty of people that they want that that feel the smell the, the everything about holding a real book in their hand.
Garrick Jones 37:07
So well the interesting thing is when I bought your book, I didn’t get it on Kindle. I waited till it came out paperback. And when it arrived, I struck the cover. And I thought, This is my mate Brad who wrote this, look at that. I’m holding it in my hands. That was a great feeling to me.
Brad Shreve 37:22
Well, that’s a great thing for me to hear. So thank you. Now, if someone would like to contact you, what’s the best way to do that?
Garrick Jones 37:29
The best way to contact me is through my website, which is HTTP s. Garrickjones.com.au. And there’s a an email address there. And I’m also available on Facebook. Just look me up. There’s only one there’s a famous footballer called characters. Could you believe it? And he’s, I don’t know the correct politically correct term for that recent African American I allowed to say that.
Brad Shreve 37:58
Yes, you are.
Garrick Jones 37:59
Okay. I’m not I’m never sure. I mean, we don’t have that sort of problem in this country. But yeah, he’s he was a football player, quite a famous football player. So sometimes I get emails for him. And I wonder if he gets emails for me, you might get a bit of a bit of a shock.
Brad Shreve 38:21
Well, once again, I want to tell everybody that your let your most recent book is the mystery Australia’s Son. And as you said, it’s available pretty much everywhere. It is. And I do want to thank you for your time. It’s been great to talk to you as always,
Garrick Jones 38:36
oh, it’s wonderful to have you Brad. Perhaps you should let people know that you and I have a long term friendship. We met on a an accountability page, and we spent time crying on each other’s shoulders and we became Pals from that. And I think every day that I met you and you keep me going at times when days are black and the hole the depression hole is deep. And I love you for that. Thank you.
Brad Shreve 39:03
Well, thank you. I love it for that as well. Because those days of holding each other and crying through our novels has not ended. It didn’t just stop with that group. So yes, Garrick and I have been good friends for quite some time now. Yep. Glad I finally have you on the show.
Garrick Jones 39:21
Like I know it, Sydney to give you an Australian farewell hooroo Brad. That’s what we say when we say goodbye.
Brad Shreve 39:28
Garrick Jones 39:29
Brad Shreve 39:30
Garrick Jones 39:32
See you later. It’s been lovely talking to
Brad Shreve 39:36
Garrick Jones 39:37