It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Harker. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I was fairly portrayed, although it was a very difficult time for me, with Ruth passing on and me retiring just a year apart. I would really have loved to share my retirement with her. (pauses, turns away.) Yes, the novel did me justice, although the circumstances were not what you would call normal so maybe the reader didn’t get a chance to see me in normal life. Normal life? Will life ever be normal again after what just happened?
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Yes, it was fair enough. He interviewed me often enough and we talked together a fair bit over a beer, so he would have incurred my wrath had he not. (chuckles.) I was a fair bit easier to understand as well! Peter and Rebecca both had their ‘deep and darks’, as Peter always called it, their pretty sordid hidden past lives, to deal with, and Peter with his brain-change, his synesthesia thing, made it difficult. But, all told, I think I was dealt a fair hand.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
Loyalty. Determination. Courage. Again, the author bloke had enough chats with me and others to get these three sorta drilled into him, so it would have been hard for him to leave them out. George and Frank took him aside and laid down the law a bit. Since they weren’t main characters, they really wanted to make sure that their mate was portrayed in the best light. They’re good blokes, if a little too keen. (laughs) I owe them a carton each, they reckon.
(chuckles) I have many so which one would you like? The book rather played to my strengths too, but I’m as bad as the next bloke when it comes to character flaws. I get a little lazy and I often lack focus if I don’t have a project. One of the reasons we went travelling so much, Ruth and me, was because I never wanted to do those jobs around the house that normal blokes do. The author made a bit of a joke about my reticulation and dead grass – I’m sure it was Frank who put him up to that – but it’s true. One of the things the whole adventure taught me was that some projects are world-changing. If you’re gunna do something, do it well!
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
The movie house have already asked James Cromwell, and I must say I’m delighted that he accepted. I met him on the set the other day and he has the same lack of hair as me and he doesn’t say much. In that sense, we are very similar. I really liked him in Babe as Farmer Hoggett and also in the Green Mile, although neither character was like me. He’s practicing his Aussie accent and his cricket stance (chuckles.)
Do you have a love interest in the book?
(snorts) You haven’t read the book then. Ruth was hardly a love interest. She was more a love completion. I wasn’t interested in Ruth as much as captivated, entranced and fulfilled. Even in the last scenes in the book, a year after she died, she was still there in my head, offering suggestions. Life after the book was never going to be the same, of course, given what happened, but (sighs) it would have been much richer and grander to share it with Ruth.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I never did. In real life, it was when Jacob gave me the second task, but you’ll need to read the book to know why. Up to that point, I believed in him, but that moment at the Sentry really shook my confidence. I think the scene in the book tells it well. We all had extensive interviews with the author, and the story was such an important event historically that it was pretty hard to mess it up or change things.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Ed. (grimaces.) Mind you, everyone says that. In the movie, they got Benedict Cumberbatch to play him and he does it really well. His story was pretty dire, especially at the end. Apart from him, I’d just hate to be the Second. In the movie, they couldn’t work out how to do the smoke thing so I think the special effects people did it all with computers.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Grand. It’s a great ending, and I’m so glad I was there at that wonderful moment in history. (falls silent for a moment.) Just wish . . . well, Ruth would have loved it. Brought back memories of the kids and grandkids, but in a different way. You’ll just have to read the book to know what I’m talking about.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
Don’t. I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame. I’ve done my bit for humanity. Focus on Peter and all his amazing crew, or Ivan the Magnificent, or Rebecca and Benedict. There are plenty of stories there to be told, all smaller tales, but all important. We are all important, you know. We all have our stories. I was just a retired postie who got swept up in a mighty worldwide thing, not for anything special about me, but just because I was retired and available.
Thank you for this interview, Harker Brown. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
No. I’m retired now. (chuckles) Truly retired.
In the world of despair, Father Nick’s Day is the only hope…
Peter Blackwell wakes from a coma into a world he doesn’t recognize. Without memory or identity, all he has are nine random images. Nine planets. Eight he can see, although he does not understand them, but the impenetrable ninth is the secret that two opposing and hidden brotherhoods have been seeking for nearly two millennia. Pursued, betrayed, Blackwell has twelve days to unlock his Ninth Planet and prevent terminal worldwide suicide. And his only ally is a manic assassin sent to extract the secret and kill him.
NINE PLANETS is a debut Christmas-themed science fiction thriller from an Australian author.
Find out more on AMAZON.
Greg Byrne is an English teacher, grammar consultant, and lecturer. He enjoys exploring places, ideas, history, languages and science, dinners with friends, watching his family grow, and living life’s great adventure. His next projects are a young adult thriller with a twist, developing a grammar teaching system for schools, and writing a grammar text for ESL students. He lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his beloved wife and family and an overweight British Blue.