About C. S. Boag
The first indication that Charles Boag might have a career in fiction came when a short story he wrote, “Aunt Maud” – a macabre tale of incest and madness – was placed third in a Sydney University competition and appeared in the university newspaper, “Honi Soit”. But since then, as he put it, “life got in the way” and he concentrated on journalism – general reporting for “The Sydney Morning Herald”, feature-writing with “The Bulletin” magazine, a couple of columns (for “Woman’s Day” and “The Bulletin”), newspaper editor.
In what he regards as a serious lapse in judgement, annoyed with politicians and the non-service they provided inner-city residents, of which he was one, he stood for and was elected to the Sydney City Council, quitting six years later even more disillusioned with politicians. The inspiration for Mister Rainbow stems from that time.
He has had short stories published (like 'Just The Ticket', currently floating about the ether) and won the Walter Stone Memorial Prize for literature.
Mister Rainbow in The Case of The Hood With No Hands was three years in the making. Charles was living (illegally) on a boat in Sydney Harbour in the company of his daughter, Kate, and a parrot, when the idea for a boat-dwelling detective “with attitude, issues and principles” called Mister Rainbow (after the parrot) came to him.
But it wasn’t until three years, a change of address (to the mid-west of NSW) and his marriage (to Judith, “my inspiration”) that “The Hood”, the first in the Rainbow series, was ready for publication.
Charles has five children – Beth, Alexander, Stewart, Jack and Kate and lives with Judith and an old Ferguson tractor on a small, green holding.
A FIVE QUESTION INTERVIEW by Sophie Hamley
1. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it?
Yes. It was called ‘Aunt Maud’, a psychological stream of consciousness thing. I was at uni. It was published in Honi Soit after coming third in a short story competition. George Johnston’s son Martin won.
2. How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published?
A million. My main problem was a university education – I felt I had to write like all the great authors. I am only just now being me, and even I can see it works.
3. What sorts of books do you love to read?
Just about anything except Wilbur Smith & Mills & Boon. I like Patrick White - after I’ve read him more than during. Love spy novels – Len Deighton, some le Carre, etc. Have read everything Graham Greene ever wrote. Ditto John Updike. Forcedly comic novels are a pain, but love Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and E.L. Doctoreau (particularly Ragtime). Of the oldies, H.G.Wells’s History of Mr Polly, Tono Bungay and short stories, but none of his quickie romances; Dickens’s Bleak House, but think he went over the top with most other novels; Tolstoy’s War and Peace (had to keep a running list of characters, though); and Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea (except it didn’t survive rereading in adulthood); Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, a great chunk is invaluable advice to writers.
4. If you were forced to co-write a novel with someone (as we’re not presuming that you’d want to co-write with anyone necessarily) who would it be?
Doctoreau, because he can write like an angel and I think he might indulge me. He has a sense of humour. Maybe also Larry McMurtrie, who darts off so sweetly on whimsical tangents. Otherwise probably no-one, because like most other writers I am fiercely my own person.
5. What are you working on now and next?
Just finishing writing 5th in the Mister Rainbow series "The Cock Robin Killer" and have a draft of a romance: My Old Love