Q & A with Rusty Young
Authors at the National Library
3 July 2017
For seven years Rusty Young, author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, lived and worked in Colombia, where he interviewed Special Forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents, and members of two vicious terrorist organisations. The result was Colombiano.
Rusty Young joins us on Wednesday 2 August 2017 to share insights and stories of the journey that brought us Colombiano.
We caught a sneak peak at the fascinating mind behind an incredible book.
Why do you write?
In pursuit of meaning. I started a diary when I was twelve to explain away the confusion of being young. Of course, it was all self-centred and egotistical. Gradually, I focused outwards and found meaning and passion in political causes and trying to understand other people. My guess is that right now most readers would see me as a popular/commercial author whereas ultimately I consider myself an existentialist. Time will tell.
What are you reading right now?
The Economist Magazine. I find if I read novelists I admire when I’m writing, I get strongly influenced and subconsciously imitate them and then go way off track with my own voice.
What three titles should always be on the shelves of any self-respecting bookshop?
Whichever three titles are selling best. It’s important for society that bookstores stay in business. Of more interest to me is which titles the owner and staff keep hidden beneath the counter.
What was the hardest part of writing, Colombiano?
Maintaining my passion and self-discipline. Colombiano started off for me as a spark to change the world. Over a decade later, self-doubt set in when I realised I’d merely been sitting in front of a computer screen moving my fingers. Still not sure how it will end. Ask me once this same question once it’s published.
What was the best part of writing, Colombiano?
The creative collaboration with Simone Camilleri, who has been my story consultant, editor, agent and, above, all an unwavering friend who has always helped me believe in myself.
What do you love about libraries?
Their immensity. Walking in, I immediately feel overwhelmed knowing no human could possibly read every book on the shelves. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded how small we are (although not too often!)