Mark O'FlynnBlue Mountains author Mark O'Flynn on his new books 'False Start' and 'The Forgotten World'

Mark O'Flynn is a writer of poetry, short stories, novels and now a memoir, False Start: A memoir of things best forgotten.


Mark O'FlynnBlue Mountains author Mark O'Flynn on his new books 'False Start' and 'The Forgotten World'

Why did you decide to write False Start?

I initially wrote the first section as a means of exorcising some slightly painful memories. I did not want to shy away from them, and the more I thought about that time the more I remembered, and the more I began to think them fairly entertaining. People I told those stories to thought they were interesting, so I decided to see if I could make use of my own history as a source of material. Without sounding high-falutin I read that Beckett was inspired by impotence. I thought that a strange thing to be inspired by, so I began to think about embarrassment, awkwardness, perhaps even humiliation as points of departure for a story.

Why was it important, to you, that False Start was funny?

My last book, "Grassdogs" was a fairly bleak story. Some people thought it a sad book. So I definitely wanted to show a little variety, if not some versatility in my writing. Having said that, the tone, if it is funny, happened fairly naturally. In a mood of self-deprecation I did not want to take myself, or anybody else, too seriously. After all, what is interesting about my life? Not much really. So it had to be the tone to make it so.

What did you find difficult when writing this memoir?

In part three there was a lot to be left out that was not relevant. At least twice before I have tried to use that material in a fictious way, as a novel, and as a film script. Both attempts failed. One publisher said that the character of my father-in-law was beyond belief. There was a lot of energy wasted there. So I decided to tell it straight, as it happened to me, rather than try to fictionalise it. Even so, there were a lot of other great stories that had to be omitted.


Tell us about The Forgotten World.

It's a novel set in the now vanished village in the Jamison valley in the 1870's-1890's. It deals with the people who used to live there in what is now effectively wilderness; how they survived. This time also coincides with the hey-day of the famous and very swish Carrington Hotel. These two enterprises were really the main reasons for Katoomba's existence. So it's a fictionalised history, with some of the real personalities of the day. There's a murder mystery, a jewel heist, a love interest, but the main focus is on two half-brothers and their eccentric family who are trying to make ends meet in the difficult, dangerous and magical landscape of the Blue Mountains.

False Start - Mark O'Flynn

Forgotton World
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