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#LoveOzYAbookclub: April 2016 – Five Messy Questions with Dave Burton


Dave BurtonWell, we’re at it again, picking the brains of our favourite authors.  This month’s author in the hot seat is Dave Burton, the author of How to Be Happy, and he’s answered five slightly offbeat questions to give us some insight into his writing process (or at least, what his Writing Must-Haves consist of).

 Dave is a Queenslander, and he blogs here, at his website.  He has taught theatre and literature at USQ, and created award-winning theatrical work, including the community musical Boomtown and April Fool’s, about illicit teenage drug use.  He has directed Shakespeare, and was Associate Producer of the Brisbane Writers Festival.  His podcasts with Carley Commens were some of the most popular Arts podcasts in Australia on iTunes, and he still runs Pew!Pew! on Youtube.

So, he’s a pretty talented guy.  But what would he do in a zombie apocalypse?


* The zombie apocalypse strikes, but it’s okay, cos you have your choice of weapons, and you choose…:

Sneakers. Cos Imma gonna run. Seriously, they’re not that quick. And I’m nimble. Years in the teenage school yard taught me that I’m a better sprinter than I am a boxer. Cowards unite. The meek shall inherit the Earth, after all.


* Your book makes No#1 with a bullet on the NYT Bestseller List, and a famous bartender at the Ritz-Carlton makes a cocktail in its honour.  What’s in the cocktail and what is it called:

I’m so glad you asked. It’s a magic concoction named after the book ‘How to Be Happy’ – but it’s an accurate representation of the book, so it aims to capture the awkwardness and confusion of your teenage years. So you scoff it down (it’s a bizarre combination of LYNX deodorant, sugary energy drink and vodka mixers), and you suffer through a night of bewildered horniness, existential dilemmas, and you grow a lot of hair in random places. You’re welcome, Ritz-Carlton.


* Writing Must-Haves – snacks, drinks, music…whatever:

Coffee. Always. Or tea, preferably green. I don’t eat when I write, but on particularly intensive days I will need to take a break, and rustle up something quick, usually egg on toast. Music is also really important. Sometimes I use silence, but more often I tap into movie soundtracks. So I think a lot of ‘How to Be Happy’ was written to the music of Thomas Newmann. Right now, I’m playing Fleet Foxes.


* If your book was a ride at SeaWorld, it would be…:

God, I don’t know. But it would be wet. And not in a pleasant way. Lots of twists and turns, with an unexpectedly pleasant ending. But yeah, along the way there would be quite a few big splashes right in the face.


* We’re at a dance party right now, and the DJ wants to know which song gets you out on the floor for major boogies and you say…:

Ray Charles. Nina Simone. Anything big and brassy. It’s a phase I’m going through. I want soul so intense you can feel it in your chest. Listen to Ray singin’ ‘Hallelujah I Just Love Her So’, or Nina Simone’s ‘I Got Life’ (particularly the Groovefinder remix) and just try not to smile. Instant happy-making.


Thank you all for reading!  I hope you’re enjoying the book.  And thanks Dave, for getting your sillies on with #LoveOzYAbookclub ☺



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