John Heffernan has written about thirty books for a range of audiences from early readers to young adults, in a range of genre that includes realistic fiction, fantasy, futuristic, and picture books. He also writes for junior readers under the pseudonym “Charlie Carter” (most notably, the Battle Boy series).
I was born in Sydney, or at least that’s what my birth certificate insists. Of course, I would’ve preferred to have been born somewhere more exotic, like Euratania or Varrapache, mystical places of which you probably haven’t even heard. But those sorts of things only happen in storybooks apparently.
Good heavens, I’ve never had a real job. I’ve done things to keep starvation at bay: Scuba diving with piranha; teaching self defence to Bulgonian jungle mice; reading poetry to sheep; droving cattle in the wide outback where the kookaburras call and the whips go crack; and lecturing in psychometrics, (although I could be making that one up). But as for JOBS? The very word brings me out in a rash.
My books cover a range of themes: the power of imagination; the power of words; the importance of human connections like friendship and family; the need we have as humans to not just find ourselves, but to find where we belong as well; the way in which we treat each other at both personal and political levels; and the impact of big forces like war and natural disaster on our personal relationships. These are some of my themes. But mainly I just like to spin a good yarn.
Receiving awards is good; they boost your ego and your morale. But the best highlights unquestionably come from those readers who go out of their way tell you that your book has had a serious impact on them. That’s what really keeps me writing.
I have published with several publishing houses: Scholastic, Omnibus, ABC Books, Lothian, Hachette, MacMillan.
Passionate? Whoa. That word is a worry. I’m actually suspicious of people who claim to be passionate about something. But grabbing my readers and affecting them emotionally is something I feel very strongly about.
You certainly have. I’m the guy who stands on streets corners with his hand held out and his eyes downcast. I’m the boy who doesn’t understand, the girl whose head swirls with questions, the dog that watches, the woman at the window next door, the man up the street you think you know but don’t at all. Or at least I like to imagine I am.
I started life as a day dreaming kid, staring out the classroom window, always in trouble for being somewhere else. Now I do that for a job, and it doesn’t bring me out in rash. In fact it brings me immense pleasure. The overriding reason I talk to students, teachers and parents is to get across the wonderful sense of fulfillment that can come from this strange craft. I really do feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.