After a long career around the globe as a university teacher, researcher and administrator, Brian Stoddart is now a consultant and writer. He has published fifteen books of non-fiction covering mainly sport, Asian affairs and, more recently, global events.
He writes regularly for the press and several websites, appears on radio and television, is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and seminars around the world, and also works as a speaker-lecturer on cruise ships. Brian Stoddart maintains his own blog at http://www.professorbrianstoddart.com.
Please help me welcome Brian Stoddart to Roadie Notes …………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
At junior school, I think, then a few in high school. Then I spent years writing non-fiction and finally gravitated towards fiction
2. How many books have you written?
Now 3 crime novels and 17 non-fiction works across biography, history, sport and memoir, and also have some as yet unperformed television and stage scripts
3. Anything you won’t write about?
In the crime field I find it difficult to the point of impossible to write seriously violent stuff, especially anything involving kids. My preference is for the mystery to be at the centre with the violence more implied
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I am way old! Married for a long time, happily, two adult daughters (in film and TV, and in international risk and relations). I had a long career as a university executive and still do aid and development work in higher education reform, but these days prefer to be a writer
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
My usual answer is whichever one I wrote last! Right now that is a true crime biography sitting with a publisher. I do like my crime novels still, with protagonist Chris Le Fanu of the Indian Police Service in 1920s Madras developing as a character and branching out geographically. But I do like A House in Damascus: Before the Fall. I wrote it while working there immediately before the war on a higher education reform program. I loved the city, country and people, and the book was my way of expressing that.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
I started really as an academic writer but always enjoyed reading crime fiction because it gives a way into a society, and that is what I try to do with British India. A lot of writers have had an impact and across many genres: crime writers like Fred Vargas, Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Andrea Camilleri etc. Writer friends like Tim parks and Greg McGee are sources of inspiration. Wonderful writers like Evelyn Waugh and Robert Louis Stevenson all the way through to Walter Mosely and Dashiell Hammett have all had an impact as well. All of them teach about writing but also about insight, and that helps me immensely
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I ride a mountain bike when in Queenstown New Zealand which is my normal base. Photography is an ongoing fascination. Then there is all the reading!
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Usually collapse with exhaustion! A glass of champagne is usually involved, and some reflection on having completed something that was important to me.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
At home I have a writing desk looking out to the mountains so I pitch in there, usually without music so I can “hear” the book along with all the New Zealand birds. On the road I can usually construct something. I have had to learn to adapt. A chunk of one book got written sitting in an armchair with the laptop actually in the lap. Not ideal but it got done.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
Only to try to make it ever better, and to keep learning from others about how to do that. Not sure I want to change “style” so much as just improve
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
We all want to be famous, I think, and in that we all want to be read by as many people as possible. That is my wish, that a lot more people might enjoy what I have to put in front of them, because that is the ultimate satisfaction
12. Where do you live?
Mostly in Queenstown New Zealand though presently perched in Sydney Australia for a spell. Usually through the year I also do lectures on a couple of cruise ships so that takes us all over the word and different inspirations
Not at present as we do travel a bit. We had a much-loved Border Collie sheepdog for many years and remember her fondly
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Probably the challenge of getting something out in the best possible form so that I can communicate with people. That means getting better and smarter.
15. What is coming next for you?
Finishing Chris Le Fanu No 4 and to advance his story. Also working on a play and some screenplays as well. And keeping on writing!
You can connect with Brian Stoddart here:
Some of Brian Stoddart’s books: