As a child my favourite book was. . .
Probably George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. It was the first ‘proper’ book I read as a kid. I even bought it from the travelling bookshop that came to my junior school. That was some hard-earned pocket money I spent on it, too. I re-read that book a lot.
Before I was an author I . . .
Was and still am a Mobile Librarian. In essence, I do all my library work – issuing and discharging books, helping customers find their next read – out of an awesomely cool thirty-five-foot-long library van. We sometimes refer to it as the Tardis because when you come on board, it’s much bigger inside than you expect, and there is a multitude of worlds to get lost in!
Defender was inspired by. . .
So many things! From ages of eleven to seventeen, my dad would take me to the video shop every Saturday afternoon and I’d rent out films. So movies were my first big love – Aliens, Terminator 2, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, *whispers* Dirty Dancing, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All those films made a huge impact on me and new films continue to do so now. Reading-wise, I have so many books that, although might not have directly influenced Defender, certainly made me think ‘Man, I’d love to write something like that one day’. Books like The Day of the Triffids, I Am Legend, Cat’s Cradle, The Shining, Chasm (by Stephen Laws), King Blood (by Simon Clark), all of Richard Laymon’s books. I could go on and on and on.
Defender came from . . .
The voices that tell me I should sit my butt down and write.
In three words Defender is . . .
High-octane, heartfelt, brutal. (I cheated with ‘high-octane’. Technically that’s two words.)
Describe Defender in one sentence:
The road-trip from hell across a devastated land, where the voices inside people’s heads can either save or slaughter you.
The best part of writing Defender was . . .
When you get so lost in the world, you look up to see it’s dark outside your window and you haven’t eaten for five hours.
My favourite place to write is . . .
In my study, surrounded by my LEGO builds, my light-up Totoro lamp and the playlist I made for the current book I’m working on blaring from the stereo.
In preparation for writing Defender I . . .
Read a lot about suicidal ideation and the psychology behind audial hallucinations. I also read around Julian Jaynes’s Bicameral Mind theory and how we understand and define human consciousness. All researched whilst I lay swaddled in my Slanket on the sofa with Bob’s Burgers or South Park on in the background.
When I’m not writing I . . .
Can normally be found doing one of three things: sitting in the cinema watching the latest movie release, building LEGO, or reading. Or, failing any of those, playing video games on the Playstation 4 (that’s four things, I know. I’m really bad at counting).
My favourite place to curl up with a book is . . .
In bed. I have a nifty V-shaped pillow which makes the perfect cuddling companion.
I started writing because . . .
I feel like writing is the only thing I’m halfway decent at so I better make the most of it while I’m here.
Marketing Executive and Head of the Realm at Hachette Australia Books. Mutant power: Aggressive humour. Lifelong Trekkie (I don’t find that offensive) comic book reader and former proud bookseller. Likes: Literary, contemporary and speculative fiction. Dislikes: Haters. Ideal date: My birthday.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the founder and director of Sweatshop, a literacy movement in Western Sydney devoted to empowering culturally and linguistically diverse artists through creative writing. You will want to spend more that 5 minutes with Michael.