special guest is T.J. Park and we’re talking about his debut supernatural
thriller/crime novel, Unbidden.
During his virtual book tour, T.J. will be awarding an e-copy of Mortal Thoughts to 3 randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.
is an Australian novelist and screenwriter. He was raised on a steady diet of
Stephen King novels, British science-fiction television, and the cinema of John
Carpenter and Sergio Leone. Not much else is known about him. That’s just the
way he likes it.
Welcome, T.J. Please share a little bit
about your current release.
release is my only release but I’ll certainly consider writing more when the
big bucks come rolling in which my agent tells me is imminent. My book is
called Unbidden. It’s been broken up
into 5 parts with the combined edition coming out in April. MORTAL THOUGHTS is
Part 1. They’re in bite-sized chunks of around 70-100 pages each – about the
length of a meaty Stephen King novella – the author my agent tells me I’ll be
richer than soon. It’s a heist-gone-wrong story which soon careens into the
supernatural. Crime and horror make great buddies and I’m a lifelong fan of each
I’m a craven and
low sort of man – I get a perverted thrill out of terrifying people. I reasoned
that I couldn’t harm them in real life otherwise there would be jail time and
shower shenanigans and, on the downside, bad prison coffee, so I knew I would
only be able to inflict dreadful injury on people through fiction. Unbidden (MORTAL THOUGHTS is part 1 of 5) is set exclusively in the unendurable hell of
the Australian outback. I come from a remote Queensland town (just down the
road from where Dr George Miller of MAD MAX FURY ROAD fame was raised/tortured)
and know first hand that anywhere beyond 30 inches of our three Eastern board
cities is a post apocalyptic wasteland-like zone. I wouldn’t want to live there
again but it’s a great place to set a crime/horror novel. Edgar Rice Burroughs
never stepped foot in Africa but wrote twenty-four Tarzan novels. I can keep
writing about my own dark continent and joyously never have to go there again.
Excerpt from MORTAL THOUGHTS:
one-room office was a tight fit, shaped into narrow corridors by desks, radio
equipment, kitchenette, filing cabinets and an antique photocopier. A
wall-mounted fan oscillated back and forth, achieving little more than shifting
the hot air around. Occasionally, for no discernible reason, it emitted a loud,
was a small, lifeless waiting room glimpsed through a partition door, crammed
high with sagging cardboard boxes. Neck explained that a delivery was overdue
to be collected. Normally the boxes would be left undercover outside, he told
Doug, but thieving had worsened lately. Doug readily sympathised.
was one other notable feature of the office, and since entering Cutter had
barely taken his eyes from her: a young, pretty woman sitting at the corner
desk laden with paperwork. She wasn’t introduced, and after initially looking
over the visitors, went back to working on her computer and fussing over a
stray twist of hair, picking at her clothes, brushing her bared skin
self-consciously. Whenever she glanced back up at Cutter, he answered her increasingly
shy looks with an unwavering smile.
scanned Doug’s clipboard while Neck directed the young woman to scroll through
old emails, looking for any sign of the order.
sound of the whirring, farting fan rose sharply for a moment before its pivot
began to slow, the dusty blades becoming visible in their cage, slowing to a
said Neck. “Open the windows will you, Sonya?”
was through the windows they heard it first – the distant droning of an
bumped into Doug and Cutter in his rush to get outside.
due this morning,” Neck muttered for everyone’s benefit. “Sonya, get them on
the radio. Ask them who they are and their flight plan.”
spied Sonya rolling her eyes as she went to the radio.
droning dropped to an abridged roar as a low-flying plane buzzed the building.
Its shadow flitted past the windows.
let me,” Neck insisted, elbowing Sonya aside.
came back, stopping in the doorway. “It’s circling.”
turned from fussing with the radio, his cheeks and Adam’s apple a heated pink.
“Get that truck out of the way!”
Doug said congenially, “right after you sign the invoice.”
clicked the radio repeatedly. “It’s not working!” He ducked under the desk.
“For god’s sake … don’t tell me it’s not plugged in!”
it’s blown a fuse,” Duckbill suggested.
stood again, rubbing his ear furiously having clipped it on the edge of the
desk. “Does it look like it’s in trouble?” he asked Duckbill as he reached for
a mobile phone lying nearby.
what I could see, it’s flying fine,” Duckbill said.
was closer to the mobile. Reaching to pick it up for Neck he bunted it away
instead. It slipped down between the wall and desk.
pushed past Doug and Cutter, heading outside, glancing down at Doug’s nametag.
“Just get out of the bloody way… Russell.”
plane’s engine noise began swelling again. Duckbill skipped aside as Neck
passed through the door. Doug looked over at Sonya, shrugged and gestured,
“Ladies first,” yet she declined to exit until he and Cutter went ahead. Doug
wasn’t offended. It wasn’t about him. It was Cutter. He made anybody nervous.
It’s a busy time for me reviewing plans for my first mansion with my architect
so I haven’t been thinking about further novels. But obviously some time soon when
I’m sunning myself by my horizon pool, one won’t help concocting ideas for
further stories. If I do write a follow-up bestseller, it’ll be in the same
genre. I have always dabbled in screenplays but any riches they generated went
to the producers – the true monsters of that medium.
When did you first consider yourself a
school. You’re a writer when someone else takes you seriously as a writer. That
means you’re being paid for it. When cash first changed hands that’s when I had
the nerve to call myself a writer before that I was some sort of hopeful
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?
always been a full time writer. At least for the last twenty years. I write for
the movies and also have a few produced credits in movie length animation. A
regular writing day is strong coffee first up, pissing about on the internet
for a few hours, a good long lunch, maybe an afternoon movie, a nap and then
around 3pm terror and desperation at having wasted another writing day. From
3pm to around 6pm I knuckle under, rip out a few pages and salvage something
from my day. This is how all writers work – this is the schedule and truth of
every writer’s day if they are honest enough to admit it.
interesting writing quirk?
Never saying no to
a promising distraction to writing.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
Police diver or cook on a freighter. Something to do with the cool, blue ocean.
I’m from a flat, dry, cactus-infested, snake-crawling, hotbox of a place. Growing
up, I thought about the sea a lot and how nice it would be to swim in blue
water instead of leech and pesticide filled dams and creeks. I live near the
ocean these days but it’s a seven-minute walk away so screw that.
you want to share with the readers?
with the lights on. Weapon or, even better, weapons beside the bed optional. Any
matters of resultant manslaughter can be directed to my agent.
It’s been a pleasure and when the big, fat cheques clear I’ll consider buying