T.W. Lawless is an Australia author who writes with what he says is ‘brutal realism’. Born and raised in outback Australia, but currently living in Melbourne, TW Lawless turned to creative writing, screenwriting and film-making after leaving a career in the health industry.
In this light-hearted online interview TW Lawless openly gives us an insight into the child that made him the man he is today and the man of today who is behind the critical acclaimed Peter Clancy series.
Homecountry has reached the top 20 on Amazon and Thornydevils is already a critically acclaimed novel, less than one month after release. How would you say being a popular author has changed you?
I feel great that I can do something I really love. I’m exactly the same person, who just happens to be a thriller writer. Though I do harbor a secret desire to dress like a rock star.
Can you tell us of any fan based experiences you may have had?
Well, my wife and I haven’t been offered the best table in a posh restaurant yet, but the owners of the coffee shop up the road treat me like I’m special.
Your wife Kay is a successful author in her own right. Do you share your ideas with each other?
We write in different genres and styles, but we have a mutual understanding. We’re each other’s best writing-buddy. I find Kay is a great person to bounce ideas off.
Are there any plans of the two of you writing a novel together?
We did write screenplays together before we started writing our own books. Maybe, down the track. Musical adaptations seem to be the popular thing these days, so I’d like to do a musical together—Kay is really good at lyrics (she’s asking me for a word rhyming with balderdash, even as we speak).
After reading Thornydevils I would have to say it is even better than Homecountry, which is saying a lot as I could not put Homecountry down. I feel you have grown as a writer in the time between the two novels. Is there any one factor you feel may have contributed to this growth and the strengthening of your writing?
It’s all about practice. Jimi Hendrix didn’t become a great guitarist by looking at his guitar. I write every day—either writing a book or writing a blog. In fact, I’m addicted. If I don’t write I get irritable.
Peter Clancy, who is the main character your series is based around, is a hard-drinking, hard working larrikin who lives life in the fast lane. What were your influences in creating him? Would you say there is a little bit of Peter in yourself?
I lived on a cattle station as a child. I’m very influenced by the men who worked there. They were tough, hard-working, hard-drinking larrikins. A larrikin, to me, is someone who has a cheeky, insightful sense of humour. A larrikin uses humour during the tough times especially, to make sense of life. In my experience, they are good people who think everyone deserves a fair go. They are what most Australians aspire to be.
Some would say you have made a bold move writing novels that are distinctly Australian, containing harsh larrikin characters, sex and, what could be seen by some as brutal, language. Have you ever felt a need to tone down parts of your book or given any thought to the fact that some may find your books a little ‘hard’ to take?
I call it brutal realism. The world that Peter Clancy inhabits sometimes is a harsh and uncompromising one. Villains are not care-bears. The world of journalism is stressful and people are pushed to their limits. I aim to recreate that reality in my books. I want all of the reader’s senses to be involved. I want the books to have a rock-and-roll energy. On the other hand, there is a softer side to the books. Usually I do this through Peter Clancy. He really is a softie under that exterior. He loves, he cries, he hurts. Yes, my editor asks me on occasion to tone down parts of the books but they’re usually my favourite scenes. I can’t do it.
How do you feel the overseas market will relate to your books? Have you had any feedback from readers abroad?
The themes in the books are universal so I don’t think only Australians will read them. Overseas people like that I use Australian vernacular sometimes. The main complaint I’ve received from people overseas is Peter’s excessive drinking.
There is a striking contrast between the covers of your books with Homecountry being dark and subtle and Thornydevils being bold and striking. Was there a reason for this?
I thought the colours suited the tone of the book. A dark country road, possibly at night leading to danger for Homecountry. A red colour for the second, indicating in-your-face action.
What inspired your cover creations?
I was inspired by the titles. I always have a title before I write the book. It gives me a direction in where I’m heading.
I can only imagine that in order to write a great crime thriller like you do it would take a fair bit of research and study. Do you find it difficult to find a balance between research and writing?
I do research the background to create authenticity but I try not to overdo it. I don’t want to lose the world I am trying to create. On the other hand, in my third book I read about eight books concerning journalism in England, as it is my most complex plot. The more complex the plot, the more research is required. Yes, I can even tell you what pubs journalists drank in in London circa1990.
You are currently writing Blurline, the next in the Peter Clancy series. Will this see the end of Peter Clancy or is there many more stories in him to come?
I have at least ten more books planned for Peter Clancy. In the fourth book he will go on a camping trip with Sam back in North Queensland. Of course, it will be a camping trip involving lots of danger.
So for readers who have found themselves lusting over larrikin Peter Clancy, caught in his web of love, lunacy and hard drinking, it is nice to sleep at night knowing he will be in our lives for many books to come. For those who have yet to read Homecountry and Thornydevils I heed a word of caution. TW Lawless and his fast paced world of crime will get under your skin and there will be no turning back.
Take a journey into the world of TW Lawless: www.twlawless.com
Follow TW Lawless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LawlessLikers
Join Peter Clancy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PeterClancyFan
Purchase copies of both Homecountry and Thornydevils at www.amazon.com
Article: Jennifer Douglas is the manager of Jennifer Douglas Literary Publicist and is a supporter of self published authors and independent bookstore. She believes in a world where positivity is the norm and negativity is long forgotten, focusing on the rights of all authors to equality.
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