What inspired the idea behind this book?
We decided to list our property on Airbnb and this went on for a few years. I was inspired by many of the interactions we had with guests, and some of the guests themselves. It was so fascinating the dynamic between host and guest, what you each give up, the level of trust involved and the things we all take for granted. Eg, guests won’t perform satanic ritual ceremonies in your tiny apartment.
What was the research process like for the book?
I was in correspondence with former members of the NZSAS hoping to glean as much insight into their experience and some of the more toxic elements of the culture. I spoke a lot with a paramedic about some of the strangest things he’s seen on the job and I also interviewed someone who worked informing policy surrounding cyber-crime and in particular how police and investigative bodies are working together around the world to break networks who create and share child exploitation material. This was the most disheartening part of the research, learning how few of these criminals are caught and how decentralised networks are getting away with heinous crimes.
What are you hoping the reader will take away from reading your book?
I would expect anyone who reads my book to leave the experience with a healthy scepticism of big tech. I hope readers think more deeply about their relationship with their devices and how surveillance capitalism is encroaching on their privacy.
Does the creative process get easier for you with each book?
No. I’ve found the opposite to be true. The more books, the more conscious you are of the market and readers and that can be paralysing. When you’re writing your first one or two books you don’t have a readership to let down so you can write with absolute freedom. The creative process doesn’t get easier, but some parts of editing do.
Are you able to switch off at the end of a day of writing? If so, how?
No. If I am in the middle of writing a book, I don’t think about anything but the book.