Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...
The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why? Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with?
It’s hard to choose out of so many great films. Of course, I love To Catch a Thief – a cat burglar on the French Riviera, a mystery, romance, action – what’s not to like. But I also loved the James Stewart films Rope, a psychologically thrilling game of murder, and Rear Window. But one which stayed in my mind and wasn’t a thriller, was a survival film called Lifeboat, made in 1944. The premise was that, after a boat sinks, passengers crowd onto a lifeboat. But as they hit rough seas, it’s clear that some people will have to go over the side in order for the rest to survive. It’s a brutal choice. Everyone on board has a say about who should jump. I always remember that a frail famous artist, sweet and modest, had to step into the writhing water while a loathsome, bullying man kept his place, because they’d need his strength to get through it.
What is it about Hitchcock’s films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era?
The way he filmed, that sense of claustrophobia and neuroses he created with the way he shot, was trail-blazing and is still watchable today. Though the music of the era does tend towards melodrama, you can forgive the films as they have so much of style and pace, and always a thrilling script with twists and turns. Plus, there is the fun of playing Spot the Director as he makes a cameo appearance in all his films.
Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course?
Peter Jackson is number one! And I love Guy Ritchie as a director and writer. Ridley Scott has made some of my favourite films, Christopher Nolan, Ron Howard. With Mark Mylod and SJ Clarkson in TV drama. Gosh, they’re mostly men! I hope that changes in future!
How did you come up with the idea for Paranoia?
I read a biography on Hitchcock and heard about how he had avoided/snubbed/cold-
shouldered Doris Day on the set of The Man Who Knew Too
Much, to get a more unhinged performance than usual from her. It struck me as
a cold, directorial thing to do. So, it was the first thing that came to
mind when I saw the call for stories. I created a character who styled himself
after Big Al and tried that same technique, ostensibly to get the best
performance out of an actress, but really because he liked to wield and abuse
his power. It’s meant to be a thrilling and mysterious Hitchcockian piece,
particularly for fans (making special reference to our editor’s favourite
Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
1) I met James Bond – Daniel Craig – outside the Sydney premier of Quantum of Solace. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, and I told him he was my favourite Bond (but I hope Pierce doesn’t hear!).
2) I have two pugs, called Holmes and Watson.
3) I wrote and directed short films myself for a few years, for the 48-hour film festival, with my family in the lead roles. The difficulty of putting those 7-min stories together gave me a new respect for any story on screen.
What are you working on now?
I recently wrote two magic words THE END at the bottom of the 6th and final book in my YA time travel series. After more than a decade! Two Aussie teens travel through history in a time machine. As they use modern ideas to solve ancient problems, the changes ripple through the timeline with devastating effect. I’m currently editing all six books with a view to a 2023 release!