The IndieMosh Interviews

#3 Garrick Jones

August 23, 2021 IndieMosh Season 1 Episode 3
The IndieMosh Interviews
#3 Garrick Jones
Show Notes Transcript

In this interview, Jenny Mosher talks with Garrick Jones, author of crime, historical and LGBTQ fiction to learn more about him, his books, his work processes and what drives him to write.

If you’d like to learn more about Garrick or check out some of his books, then visit IndieMosh.com.au or search for Garrick’s books at your favourite online retailer.

Support the show (https://paypal.me/MoshPitPublishing)

I'm Jenny Mosher and today I'm talking with Garrick Jones, author of crime, historical and LGBTQ fiction. Join me as we learn about Garrick's work processes and what drives him to write. Good afternoon, Garrick! Thank you for joining me.
Thank you, Jenny. Thank you for the invitation. 
No worries. You're looking all nice and warm there in your, in your sweater. 
Yes, it's a bit cold up here in the tropics. It's 22 - it's climbed a degree, so we're all rugged up.
I feel for you mate, I feel for you. 
Now you've got, you've done seven books with us so far um and you're working on the eighth. You retired seven years ago after career with Australian Opera and travelling the world and what have you. Were you thinking of these books while you were working? Did they all come spilling out or did you, was it something that you had to close the door on work and then ... 
They actually start, I started writing when I retired because I wanted to read a lot more about um my own country and my sort of lifestyle experiences during, during that period and I couldn't really find anything that wasn't angstful. 
Right.
It's a whole lot of stuff about the AIDS crisis and people dying and lots of stuff but I just wanted to read stuff about normal um gay people in Australia throughout history and I couldn't find much. I know there's a lot more available now and that's what prompted me to start writing. 
So you're talking about stories about people who happen to be gay? 
Yes, rather than being a gay book. A lot of people think that uh people about gay books about gay people are pornographic or sexually orientated and that's not necessarily the case. 
No, no. Yeah, it's the same as you know they can have red hair or something. 
Yes exactly.
Yeah, yeah, okay. 
But I did have a big background in writing. I did um two research degrees while I was performing full time and then when I retired from singing in 1999 I was headhunted for the university I lectured at and I lectured in history of the arts and music and of course did a lot of writing - had to publish papers as part of the existence and survival of all academics these days. And um I had a gift, I had a gift for it that I didn't realise that I had, so when I retired and I started to write it came very easily to me. 
So the gift isn't ... you also enjoy that gift - it's not a gift that is a, is a weight. It's a, it's not a burden?
No, no, not at all. I love it! I love it. I wish I'd started earlier.
Yeah. 
Too many ideas and not enough time, I don't think.
Tell me about it - I know that feeling! 
So, so research and history ... that would explain um I bet, I was reading one of the stories in The Boys of Bullaroo um a young fellow trying to get into the army and into the medical corps I think it was. And I couldn't understand how anybody born, you know, when we were born, after the war, how anybody could know enough to know what they don't know to research, to have those steps that he had to go through.
Yeah, well of course I was fortunate, we're very very lucky now that the internet has arrived and the major archival of a lot of material that would otherwise be, you know, locked away or perished and I found a manual about, about that process that a young medical corpsman would have to go through uh from New Zealand. And then, and then I used, I referenced that, referenced that to a few um quite old diggers who'd been corpsmen during the Second World War and they explained through an online forum, they explained their experiences. They were pretty well much the same. So just getting that research helps make the story feel real. You get more immersed in, into what actually what happened if there's some truth behind it. 
You do and I found that, yeah, I was enjoying what I was learning, so it wasn't just about the people it was, yeah, oh wow, I didn't know that you went through that! 
Yeah, that's based, that's based on a true story too. It's based on the son of one of my neighbours when I was growing up who died, died in Changi during the Second World War. And he was a medical thing, his mother used to talk about him all the time. 
Poor woman.
She lost two sons. 
So cruel! So cruel, yeah, you hear about that. You just think why? It's, it's not right, it's not ...
No, it's not right. 
No, no. Oh that explains a lot about um how, how your books seems so, so real and of course your um your Clyde Smith stories, they're set in Sydney in Coogee in the '50s, '60s? 
No, '50s.
'50s yeah. 
The first one starts in '56 the second one starts in fifth uh yeah at the end of 1956 yeah. 
Right, right. Um you know Coogee well?
Well I grew up in Coogee, between Coogee and the bush, so I do know it very well. 'Coogee and the Bush' - now there's a there's another title for you!
Yeah, yeah, on my biography I have 'from the outback to the opera' so it starts off, you know, because I was brought up by a sheep raising family in the northwest slopes and plains and my grandmother who was the daughter of that family lived in Coogee, so I spent a lot of time going backwards and forwards between the outback and Sydney.
Oh, okay, right, right so, so you do - you know a lot of the country so that ...
Yeah, that's why I wrote the book uh The House with a Thousand Stairs which is basically based in that area using the local Gamilaraay language and tribal customs.
Right. So that's set in Queensland? 
No, no, no it's set in um in New South Wales.
New South Wales, sorry. I was reading something, I'm in an edititors, editors bleh! I can't even say it! I'm in an editors' group on Facebook and someone was asking the question the other week about stairs and steps and someone noticed that a lot of Queenslanders will call them stairs when they're outside, whereas south of the border we call them steps.
They call, they call, when I grew up the stairs was something inside the house and steps was something that went up to the back door. 
Right, right.
That's what, yeah, that's what we call them. 
We didn't have enough money to have, have steps or stairs inside they were just outside! Has a background working in the creative arts and opera helped inspire stories? 
Oh yes um Australia's Son, which is probably one of my most popular books, is written about the life of a baritone singing in the opera house in 900, 1902 in Sydney and it's a murder mystery set within the theatre. That was an interesting bit of research because when I was trying to find out what was playing in all the theatres in Sydney and there were, there were dozens and dozens right up until the 1950s, it was easier to find out the tram timetable between Circular Quay and Glebe than it was to find out what was playing at the Theatre Royal in the same period!
Really? 
Yeah.
Good grief! 
Yeah it's amazing we're terrible, terrible with our artistic heritage in this country. 
Yeah. That's why I do love legal deposit and I've, I'm say this all the time with legal deposit, they go to the National Library, the state library, there's a copy, there's a copy held so that yeah there's something there on the record um ... Your writing process - do you write one book at a time are you writing three books at a time?
No, one, one book at a time. I, I, it takes me about 12 weeks probably to write the first draft of a book which is about 120, 135,000 words then I usually put it aside for two or three months before I go back to do a revision on it. And then after that it'll go off to an editor um but at the moment see I've got, I've, I've got the book with you the X for Extortion which is the book coming out in a few weeks, I'm just finishing off writing the third Clyde Smith story and I'm sending um a Crimean war period spy adventure series thriller to an editor at the beginning of September. But they've all been, you know, sort of backlogged. They're not happening at the same time right juggling the processes that happens. 
Yes.
So your creative period all happens within one space but then the editing and other things overlap. 
So with your day-to-day writing process, do you, do you work like, do you do five days on, two days off.
I'm working ... pretty well every day um there's one or two days a week where I don't write or have other things that go on but I try to write at least a thousand words a day and sometimes I get 5,000 words done a day sometimes I get 500. It just depends on how the flow goes. And sometimes you can write a whole lot of stuff near the end of the day and you go, 'God that's a whole heap of crap!' and then the next morning you come back and reread it and go, 'Hey that's not so bad after all!' 
Yeah.
Or you write, you write what you think is really wonderful and the next day you go, 'My God!' and then delete the whole lot. 
It's a case of finding the nuggets, isn't it?
Yeah. 
Um, so do you actually hold yourself um accountable to, say, seven thousand words a week? Do you have it ...
No, no, no, no, I, I keep a um a journal the sort of dot point journal of everything that I do just that keeps me in touch with where I've been, what I'm doing and everything so I don't forget stuff. 
Yeah um and that probably gets more important as we get older. 
That's true. I try to write um usable 5,000 when I'm actually writing about 5,000 words in four days that are usable.
Right. That's, that's good, that's a good idea, yeah, yeah.
And sometimes more because as I said 12 weeks to write 125, 135 thousand words you know sometimes there's more. 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah it'd have to be, yeah, if you just do the math, it would need to be more, wouldn't it?
Yeah. 
Yeah yeah. So when you, when you're writing a book you, do, do you plot it out? Do you know how it's going to end before it starts? Do you have to create the ending? What? 
I know the beginning and I know the end but I and I know a couple of the major points in the way in the middle but often I've found that when I'm writing that somehow words come out of your fingers that are beyond your control and they can change the entire direction of the story. And so they end up with a better outcome than you had planned initially when you just go with the, with the muse, yeah, I suppose it is. There's a lot of people who can't write without plotting everything down and there are people that they call pantsers they write by the seat of their pants and I've, I'm a plantser - I fall in between the two. So I, I keep good records of all the characters and I make I use OneNote to write out a character biog for each of the people as I go along bits and pieces about them as I go um and especially when you're writing a series that's really, really important to have some cohesion between the different books in the series so you're writing about the same person every time.
Yeah, yeah, that's a good point because like with your Clyde Smith mysteries ...
Yep. 
Yeah you've got to have consistency with the characters from one book to the next in their back story and um ...
Oh yeah, I have quite detailed notes about the brand of cigarettes he smokes, you know, what the name of his cat, what, how, what he likes to eat, all that sort of stuff. 
Yeah.
So all of a sudden you don't, you don't, because people do, fans do, uh, catch on to these things. You get letters from people saying, you know, 'What, what does he do at night time when he's at home by himself?' and I go, 'Well he listens to Mamma Lena on 2UW and this is the Italian program and does a bit of cooking and reading and stuff like that.' So that also helps you know, you make flesh out the character ... so they're three-dimensional.
Actually, now that's, that's another thing. How good's your Italian?
Oh I'm fluent. 
Yes, thought you might be. Um is that because of the opera? Because of the travel? 
Well yes I also studied at university, studied Italian at university and then, of course I lived off and on in Italy for nearly 30 years. 
Sorry, oh, lived on and off in Italy?
Yes, so basically I consider myself fluent for a general conversation with anybody in French, German and Italian. 
Wow.
I'm happy just to be able to speak English! 
That's not a gift that's just, you know, study, but I was also brought up speaking Hungarian by pure chance, so that bilingualism right at the beginning helped make it easier. 
Yeah. Because you've already been introduced to the concept of ... 
Another language. Because that's a hard language I wouldn't want to learn that if I was a non- non-speaker at the start. Very difficult, very difficult. 
Right, right. Do you remember much of it now? Can you still use it? 
Yeah I can still listen to underst- read books in Hungarian and listen to the news on the radio. If I try to speak it I stumble because I'm not used to forming the concepts, the connection's not there between the brain and the mouth and the lips so much. Whereas in Italian, French and German you know that still works very well.
It's more automatic. 
Yeah yeah.
Yeah. I suppose if you're going to learn another language it needs to be like that. ... You need to be able to just switch off the English and just switch on whatever language you're going to talk in. 
I wouldn't say that I was ever, ever be taken for um you know a natural speaker yeah because I've still got an accent and I still use strange constructions but you know I can hold a conversation on pretty well anything except sort of some metaphysics or something like that! 
You're one, way ahead of me on that one. Um you mentioned letters, getting letters. Do you actually get letters from people? 
Yes I get lots of that I'm interested in ...
Physical letters? 
Well I get not many snail mail letters but I get lots and lots of emails. And among my writing colleagues my little sort of coterie of fellow writers, I don't know, I think to, I'm pretty pretty lucky because I get quite a lot of emails from my website and through Facebook. 
Yeah.
People seem shy these days to leave reviews. They don't want to actually leave an opinion out in public but they're quite happy to write really nice things in emails to me.
That's interesting! Um why do you think they're shy about leaving reviews?
I don't know. I think people just feel that I don't know what I really don't understand it because there's nothing better for an author for even a short review because that's how all of the big media companies base your visibility on the amount of public feedback you get.
Yeah. 
So even if people leave you know three or four stars on Amazon or on Goodreads or something, the company recognises that and they push your visibility. 
But even from a from a potential reader's point of view, if I see reviews I'll have a look at a few and I'll and and the reviews will give me an idea of whether I want to read that book. 
Yeah.
And actually I read a really good article once and they said even a two star or one star review is helpful because if it guides you away from a book you're not going to like then that's good for the author because they only want to sell their book to people who are interested in it.
Yeah. Um I get a bit wary about books that have all five star reviews because I, I wonder about whether that's been um ... 
Legitimately ...
Legitimate. But get I have to say that The Gilded Madonna, the second Clyde Smith, has only had five star reviews so I'm feeling a bit nervous. 
I think ... I'm pretty sure Amazon has brought in some rules now to make it harder for people to leave reviews.
Yes, you have to have spent a certain amount of money over the year before, before you're able to leave a review. It stops that, you know, people used to pay people to write reviews.
That's right. Yeah. Yeah. 
Yeah and that's a good thing.
And I think you've got to actually purchase it via Amazon so that they know that you have actually bought the book. 
Yes that's true.
And of course if you've got a Kindle they can tell if you've read it or not so um so yeah so it's actually a good thing. So in a sense, although there may be less reviews, they're probably more trustworthy. 
Well I think that's true. I tend to get really long reviews. I mean almost, I think I sent one to you once it's like a short essay.
Yeah! 
You know get like this number of people write very very long reviews on my books which is very gratifying because within the, the criticism is always constructive but most of the time it's really pretty well glowing so people really, really enjoy it. I think because I write in a type of genre that's not very common and it speaks to a lot of people and this is not only gay people it's heterosexual people as well.
Yeah yeah yeah ... um ... Actually that's it's interesting because sometimes the long reviews, what I get frustrated with and hello reviewers out there - please don't write a synopsis of the book. That doesn't help anyone. 
That doesn't help anyone at all.
No. Tell people what you enjoyed about the book and even let the author know perhaps what you didn't enjoy, but yeah, don't write a synopsis because the, the yeah.
That's not a review, really, because the synopsis is on, on the back of the cover of the book really or on its description so. 
In the online description, exactly. Yeah, yeah, um ... so you get emails from fans? And I also heard you're doing podcasts. You've been on three podcasts in the US. 
Yes I just did another one on um it was released yesterday from the Queer Writers Associ- of Crime Association in Los Angeles and that just came out yesterday. A man called Brad Shreve who's also a writer but he has a weekly, he does a podcast every week interviewing um queer writers, I call it queer writers because it's both men and women sort of uh gay writers uh who write mystery novels all over the world.
Right. 
And I did one on The Gilded Madonna with him on Wednesday I think it was and it came out last night and then I haven't.
Gee that was quick! 
Yeah he, he, he's a really good interviewer. I mean you are too obviously, but he's really um ...
I still have a lot to learn! 
He's a very good interviewer and it's an hour-long interview and he edits really well and he has um a New York lawyer who reviews a different book at the beginning of each of the podcasts. So people listen for the review of, of a book and then they listen to an interview with a writer. 
Right.
Afterwards. Yeah. 
So he uses the same reviewer every, every day?
Every week. Yeah, yeah. 
So that, that bloke has to read a book a week basically? 
Yes it's a woman. Just- Justene Adamec. She's a, a corporate lawyer in New York in the woman in her 60s I suppose.
Right. 
And she reads a book a week um yeah she's, she's also a great reviewer she's very, gets really gets into it. Um I can't tell you the amount of fun we had when she reviewed The Cricketer's Arms because um Americans and cricket ...
I was going to say that! [Laughter.] That would have been interesting for her.
It was! 
So two Clyde Smiths and two 7th of Decembers - The Czarina's Necklace ... and now we're doing X for Extortion.
Yes. 
With the 7th of December. Why the 7th of December? Why, why is that a series name? 
Well I thought it was a really interesting date because the 7th of December 1941 really changed the Second World War because it was the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and the Americans came into the war. So I thought it would be a unifying theme for the story so the two male main characters meet on the 7th of December 1940 in London so then that sort of tying together of that date as an anniversary um you know will carry on through the series. The second book the X for Ex-, X for Ex-, X for Extortion finishes on the day their book ends on the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. So, so then the rest of the other - I've got another five books planned um two of which have already been written. But I've got to re-look at them again um which will take us right through the end of the Second World War. 
Wow ... and war features a lot that that period and soldiers and the army and ... Again this is, this must be a research thing for you, is it?
Well it's a life thing, you know. People my age who were born immediately post-World War were brought up in the shadow of the war so every man around us, um fathers, our uncles, uh all of their best friends, our grandfathers, that all fought in a major conflict, that fought in the Great War 1914-18 and then the Second World War and then into Korea so our lives were surrounded by fighting men, most of whom were what I call ruined men. Men who came back not able to express what would go on and carrying this terrible burden within them what they'd seen and done during the war. So we think about, when you think about it from 19- The Boys of Bullaroo encapsulated totally because I wrote six stories set a decade apart from the Great War right through to 1960 to the Vietnam War and each of those decades involved either the aftermath or the presence of a major conflict. 
Yeah.
And it's about the men and their lives spread over that time. So when I was born in 1948 I was brought up with this huge calamity always hovering in the background. I mean when we grew up in the, in Coogee, in the city we still have blackout paper on the windows it wouldn't take still hadn't been taken off. Things like- 
Really?
Yeah, so there was reminders all the time. My Aunt Betty who is my - it's hard to say my favourite aunt but she was my favourite aunt - she was a hat model for Curzons in the city during the Second World War uh during the day and at night time she was a spotter on the top of the um uh what's the name of the building? It used to be on the corner of uh Elizabeth Street TNG building and she used to spot for um with a searchlight looking for planes at night time. And they lived in Coogee when Sydney was shelled by the Japanese and there's great stories of the family hiding underneath the kitchen table when, you know, shells were being fired by Japanese submarines.
Wow. Um of course, we wouldn't have had bomb shelters in our gardens.
Yes we did. 
Did we?
We did, yeah. We did, we had one in our, at the bottom of our garden, in the block of flats I lived in in Coogee. 
Really?
Yeah, yeah. 
Good grief! So was that, so was that for the whole block? Did you? 
Yes there was, there was only four flats in the block, but there was I think the shelter only seated about eight or nine so I don't know what would have happened ... 
That's what I was thinking I was thinking ...
You know they had barbed wire on the beaches and stuff and even and Coogee, I don't know if it still happens now, but if we had a big storm and the sea washed away there you could see in place concrete and placements underneath the sand were exposed. I suppose they've been taken away now but um ... 
Don't know? Good question? Yeah yeah the aftermath of stuff like that they build that infrastructure. 
Yeah.
At what point does it get removed? 
Yeah, so so those people didn't- found it very hard to forget you know. I was brought up with that make do and mend philosophy. My grandmother kept every scrap of brown paper she ever had and every piece of string and it was that that legacy of going without stuff during the Second World War. 
Yeah.
And we were brought up with it even though it was supposed to be the big new modern age or the age of consumerism that our parents had lived through all that and because they had the Depression beforehand. 
Exactly. Same here. I find it hard to throw out anything and, and now I find it very frustrating when you buy things in the supermarket they're all in plastic and sure the plastic's recyclable but as we know now a lot of our recyclables are going to landfill. 
I can tell you this my grandmother's 1951 Kelvinator fridge is still puttering away in my garage working perfectly.
Is it really? 
And I can't tell you the number of fridges I've gone through. 
I thought you're going to say 'I can't tell you the number of bottles in there'! 
No I'm a teetotaller, I don't drink. I'm an odd person. 
Oh no, good on you, I um yeah I have trouble processing ... I think there's something wrong with my liver and my kidneys, which is a damn shame, you know. 
I was brought up by an alcoholic stepfather. That was the best cure for not drinking in the world. 
Could be good for you. Um so with the opera - sorry this is off the books thing - 
Yeah -
What's it like performing in opera, you know? 
It's very, very hard, it's very, very, very hard work. People have no idea. It's like, it's so physical that you come off the stage at the end of the evening absolutely exhausted. I mean, exhilarated usually, but exhausted. It's an enormous amount of hard work you know. They say it takes any instrumentalist 10 years to master their instrument - it's the same with singing, you know. And then performing at a professional level is a lot of hard work. You have to sacrifice a lot of things in your life. Especially as I was when I was living in Europe, you never get a chance to be settled in one place for a long amount of time, you're always moving around, you're always managing your diet, you're making sure that you don't eat or don't speak on the days of performances and ...
You can't speak on the day of performance? 
Well most most singers if they're singing big roles don't speak on the day of performances to rest their voice.
Right, right. I've heard about you, you can't have dairy.
Yeah, that's pretty bad. Some people can, others, people can't. Some people say pineapple juice is really good. I can't do that - that gives me terrible phlegm. You know we all have our little bits and pieces. 
It's interesting how different bodies process different things differently, isn't it? 
It is that's very true, that's very true.
Yeah. So ... so you don't miss that? 
I miss the performance but I don't miss the business because it's so terribly hard work. It's very easy to get burned out.
Yeah um do you still sing at all? Are you in any? 
No not anymore. There's a point where I got to when it started not to sound like I wanted it to sound like and I thought oh this is a better time to stop than listening to my voice deteriorate. 
Yeah, yeah - know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. 
That's for sure you know and it's a good, you know, you need sometimes to stop because you don't want to end up with those people talking about what they used to be because your career, no matter what you do, is in a in a memory.
Yes. 
Unless you're a writer or an artist where you actually have a tangible example but music is temporal. That happens at the moment over time so you're the person who remembers your last performance unless it was recorded. 
Yeah.
But other people don't. 
Yeah and then they hear you again and 'Oh yeah, he's not as good as he used to be.' 
Yeah, yeah, well exactly. But uh somebody uh linked to me a recording they made for the ABC for Benjamin uh Britten no Benjamin other Benjamin opera that I recorded in about 1990 with the Sydney Symphony and I was thinking back to I think geez that was good. You forget!
Yeah. Well that's good! At least you can look back and think 'Geez I was good' not 'Oh geez I was crap!' at least. 
Well sometimes you still think that, don't worry.
As long as it's only you thinking it not everybody else. Right, so ... so a typical day. How many hours a day would you write? 
Um I try, if I haven't started writing by 10 or 10.30 in the morning it's, it's gone. My most creative period is in the morning so I'm usually sitting at the computer by 9.30 and I write till about 11 and I have a break and then I'll go back and write for a bit more. Then I'll have lunch and a nana nap and then I'll, I'll start in the afternoon again and I'll probably write for about another hour in the afternoon.
Yeah, so you don't write into the evenings? Evening's not a good time?
No, by about six o'clock my mind switches off and that's when I start to sit down and watch the news or read a book or watch a review. 
You've got to know your limits, haven't you?
But I still keep a notebook next to the TV on which I can write down ideas that come to me or solutions, solutions to problems. Um Clyde Smith in my my story his thinking time is lying down in the bath with the shower going, running over his feet, with the lights turned off and he has a stool next to the bed, next to the the bath, with a notepad on it and that's where he does all his major thinking and writes down all the clues to his cases and everything on that. 
Ooh how lovely! In a day, back in the day when we didn't worry about water or water restrictions. 
Yeah, right and also in the days when you had a gas geezer at the end of the bath that powered the shower. You probably don't remember those, it was like a gas water heater at the end of the bath that you lit and so you turn the lights off and all you would see in the room is this frick- flickering blue flame of the gas lighter. I remember that very well. 
Uh we had a gas heater out in the laundry, yeah, and that did for the whole house but um yeah I can remember it, it would go out sometimes and Dad would have to go out in the middle of the night with a torch and light the pilot light up again.
In the bush we had a chip heater. We had exactly the same thing except we had to fire it with wood to have your hot water. 
Right, right, wow ... oh great! Well look this is, this has been quite fascinating. 
Yeah, me too, uh interesting to talk about this stuff. 
Yeah, yeah, um so X for Extortion's next and that's a 7th of December story? 
Yes.
And then you've got another 7th of December lined up? Or was it ...
No the one after that is called Servants of the Crown and that's about a British, what they used to call the intelligence, a spy um in the, right at the end of the Crimean War in London in 19- 1855. So there's a big spy story about um trying to overthrow Queen Victoria and oh it's very, very complex. 
I never thought about spies being back then. I think of them as being ... 
Yeah they were, you think about the Scarlet Pimpernel - you remember the Scarlet Pimpernel? 
No.
No you don't? 
No I'm ashamed to say.
Ah it's a great spy story set during the French Revolution. 
Oh okay?
So it's 1793 that period. 
Yeah, I've never, yeah I've just never considered that spies, I mean they probably existed, they would have existed from the last -
Forever yeah exactly. 
I mean the Romans would have dealt with them. The romans probably had them! Um oh okay, right ... I just, your imagination like, just ...
Well there's a story behind that one um the British publisher who went out of business, Manifold Press, who used to publish my books, they said, 'Would you like to help this young writer and perhaps you could flesh out an idea and perhaps write a few chapters together?' and I said to this young writer, 'What do you want to write about?' He said, 'I really, really want to write about the that this period in London at the end of the Crimean War when England was still at war with Russia and there were so many Russian noblemen and people living in London and in France.' And of course um that's where that idea came from. That was years ago, that was maybe five years ago, and I just decided to revive the idea myself and wrote the story.
Right. Did he ever get his story published? 
No, no.
No, no. 
And I, I didn't even use any of that, that, what we'd written. I just used the whole concept of the idea of the period.
Yeah. 
And there's a number of um very interesting- Queen Victoria was very very unpopular at that period mainly because of Prince Alfred who everybody believed really wanted to become King and rule the country and so the royal family was very unpopular in the at the end of the Crimean War. So I thought it was a really good period to try and get into the social fabric and also the undercurrents of, of spy networks during that that period. It was also of course the period when hospitals started to become modern. Florence Nightingale-
Yes, yeah yeah yeah when we actually went into hospital with a hope of getting better and coming out again I suppose. 
And chloroform had just been used for the first time um I think was 1853 so... 
Isn't that the drug that can kill you? That's, isn't that the thing they hold over your mouth? 
Yes, but that's also the one that makes you unconscious so they can actually do what, proper operations. The first time they used anaesthetic.
Yeah. 
To think they used to cut people's legs off and everything with just a wooden stick between your teeth.
Yeah, the poor things! 
Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?
Yeah, I know, I know it's a case of what's going to kill you - the shock or the blood loss? Um yeah. 
Yeah it's usually shock!
Yeah indeed! Oh thank God for modern modern science huh?
That's for sure. 
I think we're just about out of time, so I'm going to thank you very much for your time. 
Oh thank you for the interview! It was very, it was great fun! 
Yeah um I think we've gone all around the world and back again. But, as I do when I read your stories, talking to you I've learned a lot. So thank you, very much and um yeah, good luck with X for Extortion! 
Thank you, Jenny.
Okay, have a good one. 
Thank you.
Bye. 
You've been listening to an IndieMosh interview with Garrick Jones. If you'd like to learn more about Garrick or check out some of his books then visit indiemosh.com.au or search for Garrick's books at your favourite online retailer.
I'm Jenny Mosher, thanks for listening.