Lee Zachariah is a writer who has worked across film, television and journalism. He has written on politics and the arts for a range of publications and co-hosted the ABC2 film comedy series The Bazura Project. He has also written for The Chaser on The Hamster Wheel, The Checkout and The Hamster Decides, and on news satire show, Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell. We chat to him about his new book Double Dissolution.
Somehow you’ve managed to parallel Australian political events with the rise and fall of your marriage. Is that what your book is about?
“It’s the true story of a guy (me) whose marriage broke down right before the 2016 Australian federal election was called. When it happened, a pattern emerged: I’d got married right before the 2013 election, we’d moved to London for a fresh start just as Turnbull had taken over (also for a fresh start), and we’d broken up right as the government was about to dissolve.
“I returned to Australia to cover the election as a journalist, but I had a personal stake in the outcome: if the government could eek out a win, maybe that meant I could also save my marriage. I take off on the road, driving to Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and all the remote towns and villages in between, in search of answers for both myself and the country.”
And you thought this was a good idea for a book?
“The personal angle came right after I came up with the book. Originally I’d pitched it more as a collection of the articles I was writing as a journalist, but then when the parallels occurred to me I realised that was the story I had to tell. There ended up being very little crossover between my articles and the book’s content.”
When you are writing, do you have a routine?
“No routine. Other writers have routines and I envy them. For me it’s if I have a spare hour and I find a decent cafe somewhere. Any spare moment I have I try to devote to writing.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m working on ideas for my next book, and I’ve written a feature film that’s going to be made in the USA early next year. It hasn’t been announced yet so I can’t say too much about it just yet.”
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
“Write every spare second you have, be self-critical, get better. Take every opportunity you can get, pursue everything. For every hundred things you try, maybe three of them will be successful. But even the 97 failures make you better at what you do.”