Thursday, 3 November 2016


Andrew Nette author of Gunshine State and Ghost Money was kind enough to answer a few questions on his reading and writing habits.

What’s the day job, or is the writing full-time?

I write more or less full time, but only fiction part of this. I am currently doing a PhD on the history of Australian pulp paperback publishing, have just co-edited a book on youth culture and pulp fiction from 1950 to 1980, am working on a monograph on the 1975 dystopian SF classic, Rollerball, and trying to keep my hand in with paid freelance journalism work. I am also attempting to find time to write another novel.

So, there is a lot going on.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

To be completely honest, whenever I see my name in print, whether it’s on the cover of a book or the by-line of an article, I feel pretty satisfied. That stuff never gets old.

What’s your typical writing schedule?

Apart from the fact that I write every day, I am not sure I have one. What I work on totally depends on deadlines and what the most urgent writing task facing me is. I try and put in blocks of time on longer term, more substantive projects, like fiction, but that does not always work out.

Do you insert family, friends or colleagues into your characters?

Rarely and never without their express and fully informed permission.

How long did Gunshine State take from conception to completion?

About a year all up.

Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

I am mid-way. Whether fiction I am writing, a novel or a short story, I always start by doing a plan that will set out the basic structure and sequence of the story. For a novel, this can be up to 30-40 pages, including detailed descriptions of the main characters, etc. One I finish that I wing it from there.

Are there any subjects off limits?

Depends what you mean. I don’t think it is productive to straight out say you are not going to write about something because it may be potentially offensive, violent or dark. That said I take care not to be gratuitous or offensive for the sake of it or to let that tone slip into my work. Violence in a crime story, for example, has to be proportionate and make sense in the context of the plot and characters, etc. And, if you suspect you have gone over the top with something like violence, etc, chances are you probably have and you should go back and look at what you have written again, with a view to re-doing it.

Do you have a favourite?  Ghost Money or Gunshine State? Which and why?

No. I like them both for different reasons. When it was first published Ghost Money was one of the few crime novels set in Cambodia, a place I spent a lot of time in, and I tried to put a lot (some said too much) about the history and culture of the country into the story. Gunshine State is more of a straight up genre book, a heist novel, but it is tighter and better written because it’s my second novel.

I'm partial to reading the odd heist novel. I've enjoyed Richard Stark's Parker books over the years and the odd Disher-Wyatt novel, not having read Gunshine State yet (I have now!) and not wanting any spoilers, is there any scope for a follow-up to Gunshine State?  

Oh hell yes, definitely. I have already plotted out a sequel.

Are the any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

Only a couple short stories. I am simply not that prolific a fiction author to have unused novel manuscripts hanging around.

What are the last five books you have read?

Not counting books for my PhD:
The Sympathiser, Viet Thanh Nguyen
Fun City Punch, James Newman
The Dirty Little Dog, Jeremy Fisher
The Hilliker Curse, James Ellroy
Ripley Underground, Patricia Highsmith

Who do you read and enjoy?

As I hope the above sample indicates, I try and ready pretty widely. I am, obviously, very keen on any crime fiction with a darker or noir edge to it. I also read a bit of science fiction and enjoy good non-fiction. An example of the latter that I am really looking forward to at the moment is German writer Norman Ohler’s Blitzed, a fascinating sounding history of drug use in the Third Reich.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

Pretty much anything Donald Westlake wrote, The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy, or any one of the ‘Red Riding’ quartet by David Peace.

Favourite activity when not working (writing?)

Watching films and reading. I have also started boxing lessons, which I love. If nothing else, hitting a bag is a great way to take out the stress of writing.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

As I indicated about I am currently the middle of several writing projects. The one that I worked on earlier today was my monograph of Norman Jewison’s film, Rollerball. It is a short film book for a UK academic publisher and I have never written anything like it before. The book will also look at other films in what I am calling the ‘the death sport’ cycle of cinema, Running Man (1987), Death Race 2000 (1975). It is a different kind of writing, which is why I was interested to do it, a million mile away from fiction.

In a couple of years’ time…

Finishing my PhD and more books, non-fiction and fiction, with the fiction in particular, hopefully, getting better and doing better.


Gunshine State appeared on the blog yesterday. Here.

Ghost Money which has been re-published by Crime Wave Press was on back in 2013 - here.

Andrew has his website/blog at Pulp Curry.

He's on Twitter - @Pulpcurry

Many thanks to Andrew for his time.


  1. Interesting interview with Andrew Nette. I agree that seeing your byline in a newspaper is immensely satisfying and perhaps comparable to seeing your novel displayed prominently in a bookstore.

    1. Prashant thanks. I don't think I'll ever see my name in the paper, unless I'm up in court for book-stealing. My death notice will elude me!

  2. What a great interview! Thanks, both. Great to see Andrew here, and so excited that there'll be a follow to Gunshine State! Wishing you much success, Andrew.

    ps - You're right about seeing your name on a byline or as author. It is a great feeling.

  3. Great interview. I look forward to reading Gunshine State. How great that Andrew can write full-time, although it sounds mentally exhausting.

    1. Takes a brave person to put their head above the parapet and pen a tale, leaving themselves open to criticism from others (like me) who don't have what it takes themselves to try. Glad you enjoyed it.