Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting the first day of the
Quicksand Blog Tour
Steve ~ welcome to Jaffareadstoo.
It's great to be part of your blog tour for Quicksand...
Where did you get the first flash of inspiration for Quicksand?
Halfway through writing A Fraction of the Whole, I was walking down a street in Paris (where I lived at the time) and had a spontaneous cervical spinal hemorrhage that left me paralyzed. The following few months were spent in a Paris hospital and then in the spinal ward of a hospital in Sydney. It was a fairly traumatic time in which I faced an uncertain future. I was told by the doctors it was unlikely I’d walk again, or that they don’t know if I would walk again, or that I wouldn’t walk again. So I learned wheelchair skills. I spent many days and nights with patients with spinal injuries. My girlfriend found us a wheelchair accessible house. Meanwhile I wiggled a toe. I got up on the bars. I got out of the chair. I learned to walk again.
About a month later, I needed money so I went back to one of my old jobs, which was working as a television extra. And the first gig that I got cast for was on a TV show called All Saints, a hospital drama. They cast me as a patient! One month out of hospital and I had to put on a hospital gown again, and lie in bed for a four day shoot. It was during those four weird days I came up with the first line I wrote for the book. It is when Aldo wakes up in hospital. The nurse asks: Do you know where you are? And Aldo answers: On the set of a hospital drama?
What can you tell us about the story that won't give too much away?
I can only say that it’s the story of a somewhat fearful, yet intrepid, amateur psychologist, failed entrepreneur, bad friend, and almost supernaturally unlucky man named Aldo Benjamin. In the book he is described by his best friend as a “well-known parasite and failure, who had declared multiple bankruptcies, and was the kind of man you might come across sharing cigarettes in an alleyway with a masturbating hobo.’
Tell us three interesting things about your novel which will pique the reader’s interest?
Do you feel a palpable sense of relief passing children’s hospitals—because you’ve outgrown them? Have you ever considered opening a B, B, & B—a Brothel, Bed, and Breakfast? Do you agree the problem with having children is that on your deathbed you’re surrounded by people who’ll profit handsomely from your death? Then this is the book for you.
When do you find the time to write, and do you have a favourite place to do your writing?
I write longhand and then for every twenty pages I write, I toss 19. I work in blocks of two hours. Sometimes I write lying down. Sometimes I write standing up. Because I write longhand, I can do it in the sun, at the beach, in a cafe, in a bar. I try to work 9 - 5 so I feel like a person.
Can you tell us if you have another novel planned?
Yes I do.
Published in hardback in spring 2015, and now in out in paperback, Quicksand rapidly won plaudits as one of the funniest and most inventive books of the year. Quicksand is the story of Aldo and Liam: lifelong friends, criminal and police officer, muse and writer. Indeed, the life lessons imparted by Aldo are those of a man who has entirely given up. The result is undeniable: intensely moving, darkly funny and hugely entertaining fiction.
About the Author
Steve Toltz graduated from the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1994. Prior to his literary career, he lived in Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Barcelona, and Paris, working as a cameraman, telemarketer, security guard, private investigator, English teacher and screenwriter. A Fraction of the Whole, his first novel, was released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He currently lives in New York.
My thanks to the author and Ruby Mitchell at Hodder & Stoughton for my invitation to this blog tour. Tour runs 10th March - 18th March.
Do visit the other stops.