Peter Corris is an Australian author best know for his detective fiction series featuring private investigator Cliff Hardy. The series began with The Dying Trade, which was published in 1980. Since then, Peter has published over 40 Cliff Hardy novels, the latest being Silent Kill. He has won numerous awards for the series, including a Ned Kelly Award for Crime Writing for Lifetime Achievement in 1999, and has been credited with reviving genuine Australian crime novels.
Peter’s early career was as a historian and academic. In 1975 he left academia to pursue a career in journalism but has been writing full-time since 1982. He has written a number of books outside of the Cliff Hardy series, including a biography of Fred Hollows and a collection of short stories about golf.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
In Silent Kill Cliff Hardy is hired as a bodyguard for a an aspiring politician. After someone in his entourage is killed the case turns into a search for the killer which takes Hardy to many places and into many confrontations with a variety of characters, seductive and destructive.
2. There are almost 40 Cliff Hardy novels. How do you maintain interest – as a writer – in the Cliff Hardy series?
Six or seven of the Hardy books are story collections, not novels. When I sit down to write about Hardy I feel young again and eager to see how things develop in the story. It’s all new and fresh for me.
3. You’ve written fiction (more than we could count!) for adults and young adults as well as biographies, true crime and sports books. How do you manage so many different projects?
I don’t produce at anything the rate I used to. One or two books a year is all – not difficult for a full time writer with a grown up family and no distractions.
4. How has your writing changed since you first published your first Cliff Hardy book in 1980?
Not at all – I still find writing a joy and am eager every day to immerse myself in it just as I did at first.
5. What’s your daily writing routine? Do you find it difficult to maintain such a high output?
I work for 2 hours a day – roughly 11.00 to 12.00 and 5.00 to 6.00 each session with a big glass of wine. I find this routine a sheer pleasure and I repeat, the output now is not remarkable..
6. What are you working on now?
Another Hardy book.
7. What’s your advice to budding authors?
In this hostile climate I’m tempted to say ‘Do something else’, but possibly more helpfully my only advice is – write copying the manner and style of the writer you most admire using your own material.