Fair Dinkum Baker’s Dozen #5: Brian Kavanagh

This is #5 in our new feature here at Fair Dinkum Crime. Victorian writer Brian Kavanagh has agreed to respond to our version of an author interview. We’ve approached the author interview a little differently, trying to offer the authors (who we thought must get asked a few standard questions fairly frequently) the opportunity to share some of their lesser known secrets. Or not, it’s entirely up to them. We provide the authors with 13 beginnings and, like the creative geniuses they are, they turn them into sentences (or paragraphs, or full blown essays should the urge arise).

I often wonder…about the transition we make from childhood to old age. If, as it seems, our body cells are replacing every minute or day, then are we really the same person all our lives? I think not. Looking back I hardly recognise the person who purported to be me aged 19 doing National Service and throwing hand-grenades. Or in Swinging’ London aged 27, swingin’ like a pendulum do. Or swanning around the Cannes Film Festival in the 1980’s. These people weren’t me. Someone else it seems. Strangers now. Maybe it’s the wisdom of age that everyone goes on about, but I suspect we actually live many lives in the span we are given.

Friends would describe me as…quite possibly as a pain in the arse. Vain. Opinionated. Selfish. Generous. Tiresome. Witty. Independent. You name it. That’s me.

I will never…make another film again.

My greatest fear is…making another film. If only because I don’t want to work with the bean counters that plague the industry or deal with the Deep and Meaningful mafia, fringe dwellers who decide who gets assistance in funding a film.

My worst job was…I have to confess that at a low point in my life when I was between film production work, I foolishly took a job in an Advertising Agency, (I still feel queasy) a job that only lasted a few weeks. But in those few weeks I felt unclean and almost leprous. But my Guardian Angel arranged that I would see my folly and so I quit and the very next week secured a film job that changed my life and led on to a career.

I’m in dire need of…very little actually. Except for someone to pay my credit card bills.

My childhood was…idyllic. Well, looking back on it, it appears that way. I was blessed with good parents (long gone) who I suspect intuitively knew I was going to be a pain in the arse etc., (see all of above) and ensured that from an early age I knew how to fend for myself. I loved them dearly and still do, as I do my older brother whom I admire and am close to. That’s not always the case with siblings it seems, but I know nothing of it. We didn’t have books in the house, but from the age of about six, I know we went to the penny library at the end of the street and I would take out a book each week. I also discovered the ‘cinema’ about that time and I was hooked.

I wish I hadn’t…left it so late to start writing. Of course I have always been writing film scripts, visual storytelling and I suppose, or at least hope, that has prepared me for writing books.

The thing I hate most about being a writer is…the time in-between finishing a book and the publication date. No so much that I am eager to have a copy of the published book in my hands, as getting it out there and moving on to the next project. Nothing deader that a story told.

The last book I read was… The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

The next book I’ll write is…the fifth book in my Belinda Lawrence mystery series, following on from Capable of Murder, The Embroidered Corpse, Bloody Ham, A Canterbury Crime.

Being an Australian author means…hard work, but fun with it.


Many thanks to Brian for taking the time to respond to our probing with such thoughtful responses. I can certainly relate to not recognising your younger self, though I have never done National Service (for which I am grateful) nor been in Cannes at film festival time (which I would love to have done). I bet Brian’s not the only author who hates that in-between time either.


Here are links to our reviews of Brian’s books (links are either here at Fair Dinkum or to Kerrie and Bernadette’s individual blogs (I think we both must have read the first book, Capable of Murder, in our pre-blogging days):

Book 2 – The Embroidered Corpse (Bernadette)
Book 3 – Bloody Ham (Bernadette)
Book 3 – Bloody Ham (Kerrie)
Book 4 – A Canterbury Crime (Bernadette)
Book 4 – A Canterbury Crime (Kerrie)

You’ll find Brian online at his website

The Fair Dinkum Baker’s Dozen has been launched especially to celebrate Australian Authors Month which is a cross-genre celebration of Australian writing. In addition to sharing reviews, author interviews, competitions and anything else relating to the writing and reading of works by Aussie authors the month is focused on raising awareness of the Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP). The ILP is a charity with the aim of raising literacy levels among Indigenous Australians in rural and remote communities and it works in partnership with the Australian Book Industry and the Fred Hollows Foundation.

7 thoughts on “Fair Dinkum Baker’s Dozen #5: Brian Kavanagh

  1. What a wonderful interview. Pain in the arse or not, there are quite a few of us who enjoy you immensely.

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  2. Oh – so great it's legible now. Thank you!!
    What a great interview, so different from other sites. An ingenious way to get writers talking about themselves. I'll certainly be back to read more.

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