Mark Dapin - Author Q & A

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5 minutes with Mark Dapin

Mark DapinMark Dapin is the author of the novels King of the Cross, winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and Spirit House, long listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year and the Royal Society for Literature's Ondaatje Prize. His work of military history, The Nashos' War, has been widely acclaimed. He is a PhD candidate at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

What was the last good book you read?

The Children Act by Ian McEwan. I love everything by Ian McEwan apart from Sweet Tooth.

Do you have a favourite Library?

Balmain Library, but I also love the National Library in Canberra and State Library Victoria.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever read about yourself or your work?

Some critics appeared to believe that R&R was a piece of social realism. In fact, corpses do not come out of the ground, go into a bar and have a drink, as occurs in the first chapter of my novel. Oddly enough, I was aware of that while I was writing it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My editor, Judith Whelan, once told me I could do anything. Whenever I doubt myself I think back to those words.

What inspired you to write R&R?

The research for my military history book, The Nashos' War. However, that does not mean that R&R is anything more than a piece of imaginative fiction.

Want to know more about R&R?

R and RJohn 'Nashville' Grant is an American military policeman in the R & R town of Vung Tau, tucked safely behind the front lines of the Vietnam War. Nashville knows how everything works: the army, the enemy, bars, secrets, men and women. He's keeping the peace by keeping his head down and making the most of it.

His new partner is a tall man from a small town: Shorty, from Bendigo. Shorty knows nothing about anything, and he wishes people would stop mistaking that for stupidity.

When another MP shoots a corpse in a brothel, the delicate balance between the military police, South Vietnamese gangsters and the Viet Cong is upset. Nashville and his partner are drawn into the heart of the matter by their violent colleague Sergeant Caution, the obsequious landlord Moreau, the improbable entrepreneur Izzy Berger and the mysterious, omnipotent Mamasan. Events begin to force the pair to uphold the law and eventually to take it into their own hands.

R&R is published by Penguin and available now