Peter Corris - Author Q & A

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5 minutes with Peter Corris

Corris revised - Feb 2013

Peter Corris is credited with reviving the fully-fledged Australian crime novel with local settings and reference points and with a series character firmly rooted in Australian culture - Cliff Hardy. Peter Corris has been writing his best selling Cliff Hardy detective stories for thirty years. He's written many other books, including a very successful 'as-told-to' autobiography of Fred Hollows, and a collection of short stories about golf. He is married to writer Jean Bedford and they have three daughters. He lives in Sydney.

Who is your favourite author?

Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms is one of the best novels I know and his short story Fifty Grand is one of the best stories. Hemingway created a new, simpler style of fiction writing that packed action, feeling and description into a tighter package. He was the enemy of wordiness and my model in that regard.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

In 1995 I travelled to Europe with my wife, Jean Bedford, and another couple. We spent time together in Italy before branching off in different directions. We had many enjoyable experiences and became even closer friends which doesn’t always happen when people travel together.

Do you have any hot writing tips for beginners?

In my early books I imitated the manner of writers I admired – Raymond Chandler, Len Deighton and George MacDonald Fraser – while using material from my own experience and imagination, I recommend this to would-be writers.

If you could replay a moment of your life over and over again, what would it be?

I know this question invites me to speak of a pleasurable experience but I’m going to turn it on its head. Just before Xmas last year I was hit by a truck as I crossed a street on a green light. My leg was broken and my elbow smashed. I spent six weeks in a rehabilitation hospital and the leg still troubles me over a year later. That step is one I would NOT repeat.

What was the best thing about writing The Dunbar Case?

Historical novels are my favourite kind of recreational reading. Before becoming a fiction writer I was an academic historian. In writing The Dunbar Case I drew on some of the skills of the historian to construct the back story to the book.

Want to know more about The Dunbar Case?

Dunbar Case

Private Investigator Cliff Hardy's 39th case sees him leaving the mean streets of Sydney for Newcastle, investigating what a famous 19th century shipwreck has to do with a multi-million dollar heist with a cast of characters that shouldn't be trusted.

This wasn't Hardy's usual brief--uncover the mysteries of a nineteenth-century shipwreck--but he could do with an easy case and the retainer was generous.

But is it ever that simple? Not with a notorious crime family tearing itself apart, and an undercover cop playing both sides against the middle. These and an alluring but fiercely ambitious female journalist give Hardy all the trouble he can handle.

'Ever feel manipulated?' Hardy asks. The body count mounts up as he pushes closer to the truth about the mystery and the loot.

Information provided by Allen & Unwin Australia