Short, Sharp Interview: Andrew Nette

PDB: Can you pitch Ghost Money in 25 words or less?

AN: 1996: Cambodia’s long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting. Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery, hired to find him is a Vietnamese Australian ex-cop.

PDB:Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

AN: Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil all the Time is still the best book I’ve read this year. Dare Me by Megan Abbott was also great. I’m not surprised it’s just been options for a film. I’ve just discovered Derek Raymond’s Factory series. Roach Killer and Other Stories by R Narvaez was a terrific collection.

Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men are on the TV, along with the Jon Pertwee episodes of Doctor Who (the latter I’m watching with my six year old). I’ve also been having a bit of a Stanley Baker festival. The highlight of this was the 1961 movie, The Criminal. The Mexican film Miss Bala is probably the best film I’ve seen at a cinema this year.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

AN: There’s no such thing as an objective reader, whether you write or not.

PB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

AN: Where do I sign? But seriously, I’m currently putting together a proposal for a documentary on the history of Australian pulp fiction with a friend. So yeah, I am interested.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

AN: A huge amount of research went into Ghost Money. While I didn’t want to get hung up on having every detail historically accurate, it was important to the story that the setting, Cambodia in the mid-nineties, was authentic. It’s also about respecting the people whose country I was setting the novel in. Plus, there are things that have gone on in that country that you could not make up if you tried, so reality is more effective in some instances than whatever I could have make up.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer

AN: Social media has allowed me to meet people and access crime writing communities I would otherwise have never found out about. Every Australian publisher I sent Ghost Money to knocked it back. But through the social media connections I’d developed, I was able to get it picked up by a small US publisher. That said, social media can be a major time waster. As someone said to me recently, success as an author these days is ten per cent luck, ninety per cent not being distracted by the Internet.

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

AN: A bit of serious novel pimping to do, then I’ve got to get started on another book. It’s a heist story set in Australia, Thailand and Afghanistan. Also, Crime Factory, the magazine I help edit, has an anthology of Australian fiction and a novella coming out in the next couple of months, amongst other goodies.