Literary Legends: Christian White talks about his literary inspirations

Literary Legends: Christian White talks about his literary inspirations

About Christian White

Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an

Unpublished Manuscript. He co-created the television series Carnivores, currently in development with Matchbox Pictures and Heyday TV, and co-wrote Relic, a psychological horror feature film to be produced by Carver Films (The Snowtown Murders, Partisan). Born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula, Christian had an eclectic range of ‘day jobs’ before he was ab

le to write full-time, including food-cart driver on a golf course and video editor for an adult film company. He now spends his days writing from his home in Melbourne where he lives with his wife, the filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy. He has a passion for true crime podcasts, Stephen King and anything to do with Bigfoot. The Nowhere Child is his first book. Christian’s currently working on his second novel, due for publication by Affirm Press in 2019.

Purchase a copy here

Read our review here 

 

Literary Inspirations

When I was a kid my best friend and I spent hours debating pointless things. Who/what was better: Batman or Superman? Nintendo or Sega? The colour red or the colour blue? We’d each chose a side, argue furiously, become totally entrenched in our views and refuse to listen to reason. Most of the time choosing a side was easy. Batman is obviously more interesting than Superman, for example, and blue is inarguably better than red. But sometimes the choice was much harder. Of all our schoolyard debates, by far the toughest was Roald Dahl vs Enid Blyton. I loved Roald Dahl (The Witches still holds a special place in my heart) but part of the game was proving how much you love something by declaring you loved it more than something else. I had to choose. I chose Enid.

This might have been because one of my earliest memories is listening to my mum read me Shadow the Sheepdog. It might have been because Blyton wrote with simple passion and wonder. It might have been her obsession with scrumptious hot pies, bread and ham, cake and hot cocoa. Or it might have been because a lot of what she wrote was mundane and cosy. I wanted desperately to wander the English countryside with the Famous Five and live on the Secret Island with Peggy and Mike. Blyton told stories that were nostalgic and comfortable, warm and deep.

When I hit my teens I discovered J.D. Salinger and Chuck Palahniuk, Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. I had long ago decided I was going to be a writer (or at least spend my life trying), so I wrote stories in their voices and did a halfway decent job of it. But it wasn’t until I discovered Stephen King that I knew his were the kinds of stories I wanted to write. Not horror necessarily (although one day I plan on dipping my toe in that ocean) but thrilling stories of suspense that felt familiar and different at the same time, that were populated by deeply flawed and complex characters, that felt nostalgic and, yes, cosy. Some may not agree with me on this, but there’s an inherent cosiness that keeps me coming back to King again and again. The few surviving members of the human race have to struggle in the wake of a devastating virus in The Stand, but they find each other and form a community. In It, the Losers’ Club have to face a primordial evil that takes the form of a killer clown, but they also get to spend their summer playing together in the Barrens.

King also taught me a valuable lesson: to read outside what others considered highbrow or classic. So, I delved into Thomas Harris and Michael Crichton, Ann Rice and Dean Koontz. Later I fell in love with Gillian Flynn and Stieg Larsson. These were my people. This is where I wanted to be. This is what I wanted to write.

My list of literary inspirations is long and constantly changing. Among that list but not mentioned so far: J. G. Ballard, Peter Benchley, Richard Bach, William Golding, Liane Moriarty, Jane Harper, Paul Jennings, Richard Matheson, Ann Rule, George R. R. Martin. There are more that will come to me later. Writing is like that. Everything I read bleeds back into my own work in one way or another.

I’ve lost touch with my best friend since those days of schoolyard debate. That’s probably a good thing, because he might have asked me to choose between my two biggies: King and Blyton. Two authors that couldn’t be more different, yet both played huge roles in forming the writer I am today.

… Oh, who am I kidding? Stephen King would win!

Related Articles

Podcast: Christian White on Following Up the Success of his Debut, The Nowhere Child

Podcast

3 February 2020

Podcast: Christian White on Following Up the Success of his Debut, The Nowhere Child

    Brilliant and Beguiling: Read an Extract from Christian White's, The Wife and the Widow

    News

    1 October 2019

    Brilliant and Beguiling: Read an Extract from Christian White's, The Wife and the Widow

      I Suddenly Felt Free to Write Big and Bold: Read a Q&A with The Wife and the Widow Author, Christian White

      News

      24 September 2019

      I Suddenly Felt Free to Write Big and Bold: Read a Q&A with The Wife and the Widow Author, Christian White

        Thrilling, Brilliant Storytelling, Unputdownable… Christian White has Another Hit on his Hands: Read a Review of The Wife and the Widow

        News

        24 September 2019

        Thrilling, Brilliant Storytelling, Unputdownable… Christian White has Another Hit on his Hands: Read a Review of The Wife and the Widow

          To Celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day, Author of The Unforgiving City, Maggie Joel Tells us About her Favourite

          News

          7 August 2019

          To Celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day, Author of The Unforgiving City, Maggie Joel Tells us About her Favourite

            ABIA Shortlist 2019: Stellar Debuts

            News

            24 April 2019

            ABIA Shortlist 2019: Stellar Debuts

              Four Years with a Fictional Mosaicist: Andrea Goldsmith on Researching Invented Lives

              News

              16 April 2019

              Four Years with a Fictional Mosaicist: Andrea Goldsmith on Researching Invented Lives

                Writers In Same Boat: Why it's important for authors to share their personal stories

                News

                14 February 2019

                Writers In Same Boat: Why it's important for authors to share their personal stories

                  Real Life Doesn't Work Like That: Author Anstey Harris writes about her adoption

                  News

                  16 January 2019

                  Real Life Doesn't Work Like That: Author Anstey Harris writes about her adoption

                    For thrill seekers and mystery lovers: Why The Nowhere Child is the perfect Christmas gift

                    News

                    18 December 2018

                    For thrill seekers and mystery lovers: Why The Nowhere Child is the perfect Christmas gift

                      Christian White
                      About the author

                      Christian White

                      Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He co-created the television series Carnivores, currently in development with Matchbox Pictures and Heyday TV, and co-wrote Relic, a psychological horror feature film to be produced by Carver Films (The Snowtown Murders, Partisan).Born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula, Christian had an eclectic range of ‘day jobs’ before he was able to write full-time, including food-cart driver on a golf course and video editor for an adult film company. He now spends his days writing from his home in Melbourne where he lives with his wife, the filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy. He has a passion for true crime podcasts, Stephen King and anything to do with Bigfoot. The Nowhere Child is his first book. Christian’s currently working on his second novel, due for publication by Affirm Press in 2019.

                      Books by Christian White

                      COMMENTS

                      Leave a Reply

                      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *