Monday, September 21, 2009

Q&A with Kiwi thriller writer Michael Green

Earlier this month Gulf Harbour-based thriller writer Michael Green's BLOOD BOND was released, the second book in his 'Blood Line' trilogy about a family seeking to survive in NZ and the UK after a SARs-like global pandemic. You can read an extract HERE.

I'm about halfway through BLOOD BOND at the moment, as I'm reviewing it for a couple of magazines. I'm enjoying it thusfar. Courtesy of Random House, here is a Q&A with author Michael Green, who donates his proceeds to the charity Lifeline:

Q: What prompted you to write about a pandemic?
A: In 2003 my wife and I were about to travel to the UK when the SARS outbreak occurred. Like many others we postponed our trip. I began to ask myself, 'What's going to happen if this pandemic really gets out of control? What are the repercussions going to be? How am I going to protect my family?' The answers to those questions became the basis for the Blood Line trilogy.

Q: Do you really think people would become as savage as you depict after such a pandemic?
A: Absolutely! Throughout history we have seen how savage mankind can be for reasons such as racial prejudice, religious fanaticism, etc. In the pandemic conditions I have described, personal survival would be at stake. I personally would do whatever it took to protect or feed my family. Everyone else would do the same.

Q: You're originally from the UK - did you base the Chatfield family on your own?
A: The trilogy is based on my own family structure (my grandparents were also called Claude and Cora). Similarly, as in the trilogy, my own family suffers from a lackof males in recent generations. My own cousins are all very nice people, so the villains in the story necessitated the adding of an additional branch (Nigel and his sons).

Q: Is Haver Hall based on a real place?
A: Yes, it is based on Knole House, which is located on the outskirts of Sevenoaks in Kent in England. The house has 365 rooms, 52 staircases, and 7 courtyards (it is known as The Calendar House). It is owned by the National Trust.

Q: You capture the various different settings vividly (NZ, UK, Australia, South Africa, etc) vividly - have you visited all your settings?
A: I believe it is very important to have first-hand knowledge of where you write about. I have been to all the places in my novel (and of course, I grew up in Sevenoaks, and now live in Gulf Harbour, the main settings for the trilogy). In research for BLOOD BOND I sailed from Auckland to Brisbane and visited Stradbroke Ilsand. The final part of the trilogy is partly set in San Diego, and I visited that city earlier this year en route to Europe.

Q: Sailing plays a pivotal role in your novels - how important is it in your own life? A: From the age of 13 through to 17 I served as a cadet at 'Training Ship Mercury' in England. I learned to sail then and have sailed ever since. I wrote the humorous novel BIG AGGIE SALES THE GULF in 1986 (based upon my own misadventures sailing around the Hauraki Gulf in a Davidson M20). I currently live on board the 40' John Lidgard designed motor sailer Raconteur (which features in BLOOD BOND).

Q: Are you surprised that Germany was interested in your novel?
A: In retrospect, no. Before becoming a full-time writer I was an international IT recruitment consultant, and helped a number of Germans immigrate to New Zealand. I found Germans were always very concerned about issues such as health threats, nuclear war, environmental issues, etc.

Q: The Chatfields are split between living in NZ and the UK - is this an issue in your life?
A: It is. My own family is split between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, which causes difficulties for my wife and me. Fortunately, as a writer, I can work anywhere and usually manage to spend the New Zealand winter in Europe.

Q: What is the fundraising you do with LifeLine? Why is that particular charity important to you?
A: Unfortunately, I lost my own son to suicide. Suicide is a huge problem in New Zealand (more people lose their life through suicide each year than are killed in traffic accidents). Despite this appalling statistic, the contribution the government makes to organisations such as LifeLine in direct funding is pitiful. I speak at service clubs, such as Rotary and Lions, and donate royalties of all books that I sell at these presentations to LifeLine.

So there's a few words from author Michael Green, who lives on his boat in Gulf Harbour, sails around the world each year, and donates his authorial proceeds to a telephone counselling charity. Thoughts? Comments welcome.


  1. I have read both books, they're awesome. I've never read a book so fast. When is the next one coming out?

  2. what was the answer to the questionabout the third novel I to have read both books and loved them Roger