steve worland

Meeting Steve Worland

Last night, we held another wonderful online conversation at TBYL, this time having a chat with the author of the explosive novel Combustion (Penguin) Steve Worland…

In case you weren’t able to tune in on the night, here’s a transcript of our chat with Steve…

Steve WorlandTBYL: My first question for Steve tonight is this… you’ve created a really interesting cast of characters in your novels. Do you have a personal favourite?

Steve: I love them all of course, but Corey and his cattle dog Spike would be my favourites. They’re funny and uniquely Australian, though I do love Severson, the out-for-himself-at-all-costs NASA executive, and Lola, the tough as nails Hollywood agent. I think they add interesting variations to the mix of characters. And that’s what you’re always looking for, an appealing mix that will give you conflict (even when the characters really like each other), lots of humour, insight into the human condition and that little something that feels genuinely unique and unexpected. Basically, I want the readers to love spending time with the characters, but to understand that they’re both heroic and flawed, often at the same time.

TBYL: Do you think there would be one particular character that readers would like most?

Steve: I think Corey and Spike give my stories an element that is humorous, heartfelt and genuinely Australian so they tend to be crowd favourites, certainly in Oz!

TBYL: I would think Corey would be very popular, wonderfully recognisable! I really liked Rhonda too!

Steve: Yeah, she’s great value. I kind of based her on my wife.

TBYL: Oh wow, that’s great! Can your wife fly a plane?

Steve: No, she’s an actress so she can pretend to do it!

TBYL: Perfect! Are the other characters based on real people too?

Steve: Well, the astronauts are all based on elements of real people. There’s a bit of Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, in Judd, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, in Rhonda. Lola, the Hollywood agent, is a little bit like my agent. So, you use parts of people you know and read about, then make up the rest!

TBYL: Steve, there’s an element of the bizarre in Combustion, adding to the fun. I’m talking especially in regards to Corey and his dog Spike. Why did you decide to add these elements to the story, rather than take a straight action/adventure path? 

Steve: I wanted to create a point of difference that was both humorous, heartfelt and genuinely Australian, and I think Corey and Spike give my stories that element. Interestingly, the idea for the duo comes from a very real place. I have many friends and family in country NSW and when you see the almost telepathic communication between the guys who work the land and their cattle dogs, it’s not a huge fictional jump to reach the relationship Corey and Spike have. Then to take that relationship and throw them into a big action-adventure story is a lot of fun.

TBYL: Did you spend time in rural Australia and LA to get a sense for how this duo would translate from one to the other?

Steve: Well I’ve spent a bit of time in country NSW because of family, but never more than about a week at a time. I lived in LA for a year at the start of my screenwriting career, which was an interesting experience.

TBYL: I would imagine so! How did you find LA, especially as a resident?

Steve: It was all work really. Not a lot of time for fun. Just working at Lightstorm (James Cameron’s company) or writing. It’s a real company town that way and it can consume you.

TBYL: A bit like a really long business trip?

Steve: Yes, the film business doesn’t sleep so you do need to be on the ball.

TBYL: I always find it interesting when someone moves from one type of writing to another, and so I was wondering… what made you decide to make the shift from script and screen to novel? How have you found the transition?

Steve: Making the shift was pretty easy. I had been working as a screenwriter for almost twenty years and felt that I needed to write something for myself rather than for a director, producer or studio. Screenwriting is really about creating a blueprint for someone else’s work of art, which is fine for a while, but I just reached that point where I needed a little more autonomy. Having said that, a movie I co-wrote (with the Director) is in production at the moment in WA so that is exciting.

TBYL: Ooh, can you say any more?

Steve: Sure, it’s a kid’s adventure movie that Sam Worthington is starring in called ‘Paper Planes’. It’ll be released in 3D in January ’15.

TBYL: I’ll have to take a look at ‘Paper Planes’, sounds interesting.

Steve: It’s a little way away but the idea is to make an Australian kid’s movie.

CombustionTBYL: Hypothetically speaking, if your book were to be made into a film, who would you have play Judd, Corey, Rhonda and Lola?

Steve: Well there are so many choices! In a perfect world: Chris Pine or Bradley Cooper as Judd, Hugh Jackman or Sam Worthington as Corey, Jennifer Lawrence or Rachel McAdams as Rhonda, Greg Kinnear or Jeff Goldblum as Severson and Eva Mendes or Mila Kunis as Lola.

TBYL: Oh wow, the book has just taken on a whole new dimension! I’m so glad I asked that question! Would you like to see it on screen?

Steve: Absolutely! I just have to convince someone to spend the money!

TBYL: Not too harder sell I wouldn’t think Steve, especially with that many explosions! Next question – Steve, do you love watches?

Steve: I do indeed! I’m old school, I’d prefer to look at my wrist than my phone to tell the time! I think watches are pretty much the only jewellery men can get away with so I find it interesting what guys wear. That’s why I often mention the watches people are wearing in my books. It’s a personal choice that says a lot.

TBYL: I wish I knew more about what makes for a good watch, it’d probably help me shop for my husband for Christmas!

Steve: Just ask me. I can send you in the right direction.

TBYL: I might just do that! Okay, I’ve one last question for Steve tonight… Can you tell us anything about the third instalment in the series?

Steve: Well the Judd and Corey will finally make it in to space but not in a way you would imagine. It will tie up a number of story strands set up in the first two books and will be, hopefully, a rollicking, humourous adventure along the way. It’s due Father’s Day 2015. Next year I have different action adventure novel coming out that is set in the world of Formula One. It’s has a new cast of characters and some huge action sequences so I’m really looking forward to getting out into the world. I’m in the middle of writing it now!

TBYL: That sounds really interesting – lots of fast and furious car facts? Are you enjoying taking a break from the series?

Steve: Yes, lots of big car action, and a lot more beside. I think it’s good to give the Judd & Corey series a short rest. I want it to be fresh and hopefully, by the time Book 3 comes out, more readers will have found it!

TBYL: I’m sure they will have!

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If you’d like to find out more about Steve’s books, visit the Penguin site here. You might also enjoy his personal website which is here…

 

Lots of fun coming up for TBYL!

November and December are turning out to be particularly busy and extra exciting for the TBYL crowd. I don’t want you to miss out on anything, so here’s a calendar of what’s coming up in the next couple of months!

marketTBYL at the Fair
Sunday, 17 November 2013

We’ll be setting up a TBYL stall at the Strathaird Primary School (Narre Warren South) and if you’re in the area, we’d love for you to pop by and say hi! We’ll have books, gifts, stories and free goodies on offer. Find out more about what’s going on at this great school event on their page…


Steve WorlandMeet Steve Worland

Monday, 25 November 2013 7:30pm (EST)

This month’s TBYL Event is an online conversation with the exciting Steve Worland, author of the newly released Combustion (Penguin). A great chance to find out more about Steve’s action-packed adventure series.

RSVP today to make sure you don’t miss out on this entertaining chat and be sure to tune into the TBYL Facebook page at 7:30pm (EST).


CombustionTBYL Book Club November

25 – 27 November 2013

Join us online to discuss Steve Worland’s Combustion for the TBYL Book Club. We’ll be chatting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, on the TBYL Facebook page.

You can RSVP here for a reminder, and get hold of a copy of Steve’s book here.

You can read my review of Steve’s book here if you’d like to find out more about this fast-paced novel.


christmas giftsTBYL Christmas Clearance

Saturday, 30 November 2013

This is your chance to pick up some Christmas bargains from the TBYL Store! For one day I’ll have a great range of books for adults and kids, set up in my front room. Now, I know you probably can’t join me in real life, and so I thought I’d share the goodies with you on Facebook. Put it in your diary, and on Saturday 30 November make sure you visit our Facebook page to find amazing specials on books to clear. They’ll be discounted, some at cost. It’s a great opportunity to pick up a fantastic read at a low price, plus a chance to take a look at the stock that the TBYL Store has.

RSVP here to make sure you don’t miss out!

 

the goldfinchTBYL Book Club Special Event, with guest host Rachel Devine
Monday, 2 December 2013 7:30pm (EST)

I’ve been chatting with a new friend Rachel from Rachel Devine Photography / sesame ellis. As well as being a very talented photographer, she’s also a fellow book lover. She’s been enjoying Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and I couldn’t resist – I’m going to join her.

I’d like to invite you to do the same. We’ll have a chat about the book on the evening of Monday, 2 December TBYL Facebook. I hope you’ll tune in and join the conversation (you can RSVP here) and meet some wonderful new bookish friends.

You can find out more about the book at the Hachette Australia website.

 

bundle of booksTBYL News: Christmas Edition
Monday, 2 December 2013

This special Christmas edition of our newsletter will not only feature a wrap up of TBYL’s 2013, but will also give you lots of chances to win great books! Consider it my Chrissy present to you!

Subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss out!

 

champagneTBYL at Contagious Enthusiasm’s Christmas Fair
Friday, 13 December 2013 5pm – 9pm

We’ll be attending the Contagious Enthusiasm’s Christmas Fair in Hampton just before Christmas, offering you a final pre-Chrissy chance to pick up TBYL goodies for your family and friends. Come along to 571 Hampton Street, Hampton and enjoy a little shopping, a massage and a drink and nibble. It’ll be a lovely night out! Find out more on Contagious Enthusiasm’s website or Like them for updates.

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The end of 2013 is coming up fast, but as you can see, we’ve got a little something for everyone, to help you see the year out in bookish style! I hope you’ll join us!

Out Now: November TBYL News plus this week’s winner

This month’s edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… is now out, complete with give-aways, new reviews and upcoming events at That Book You Like…

PicMonkey Collage2Last month we chatted with Claire Scobie, and this month we’re going have a great online conversation with the talented Steve Worland. You can find out more in this month’s newsletter, it’s a fantastic chance to get to know this fast-paced author a little better,

Also, there’s lots of new reviews to be read on the TBYL Blog, a chance to win a copy of the intriguing novel Driftwood, by Mandy Magro, and also a great event coming up at the TBYL Store.

Happy reading, enjoy our August edition!

Click here to read TBYL News: All Things Bookish… November 2013

If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can click here.

This’ll mean that you get our monthly news by email, on the first Monday of the month. Perfect!

PLUS…

I’ve drawn the winner of our Combustion give-away. To celebrate reaching 1500 likers on Facebook, I had a copy of Steve’s latest novel to send the way of one lucky reader. The winner of the competition is Gloria Bale. Gloria, I’ll be in touch by email shortly.

If you weren’t lucky this time, don’t despair, there’s another chance to win in this month’s TBYL News: All Things Bookish… click through to find out the details!

Explosive Action: Combustion

Sometimes you just need to take time out for a ripping read – something explosive, high octane, a story that moves at a cracking pace.

I’ve been overrun lately, finding it hard to find time to read. I needed a book that would suck me in, let me hit the ground running and keep propelling me forward so that I wouldn’t keep getting interrupted by the overwhelming to-do-list breathing down my neck.

Steve Worland’s Combustion (Penguin) was just the ticket! Wow, what a ride. From page one its storyline is earth-shattering (literally) and doesn’t skip a beat from chapter to chapter. Featuring our unassuming heros – Judd and Corey, who find themselves smack bang in the middle of Armageddon (otherwise know as L.A., the City of Angels) as the villainous Bunsen attempts to ‘burn it all down’!

CombustionLos Angeles. Traffic clogs the streets. Smog chokes the city. 
 
And Zac Bunsen is going to burn it all down.

On a ruthless quest to save the planet, Bunsen releases the Swarm, an airborne nanotech virus that targets combustion engines and detonates their fuel supply. It is spectacularly, appallingly successful.
 
Terror and chaos reign as the City of Angels explodes. Every vehicle is now a deadly bomb and every freeway a war zone littered with bodies and twisted wrecks.

NASA astronaut Judd Bell and his best mate, Aussie chopper pilot Corey Purchase, must navigate the burning city in a desperate mission to stop Bunsen before he can execute the last phase of his horrific plan and send mankind back to the Stone Age.

This wonderfully cinematic novel is the sequel to Steve’s first novel, Velocity, and offers a nice follow-on in the series. Corey’s Aussie turns of phrase had me giggling, whilst Judd’s reluctance to claim the mantel of hero was grounding, for the character and the story itself. Both these devices make the lead characters really approachable.

It’s got just the right amount of detail on time, place, weaponry and gadgetry to satisfy your hard-core action readers without alienating the less ‘specs’ driven reader like myself.

combustion 2Essentially, it’s a fun read. Its issues are current, its heros are likeable and the story is in the truest sense entertaining.

Now, last week we hit a new milestone over on the TBYL Facebook page and to celebrate the 1500 Likers milestone, I’ve a copy of Combustion to give away to one lucky reader. Here’s what you need to do…

(1) Email us at info@thatbookyoulike.com.au with the subject line COMBUSTION and tell us what you’re reading now, and what you plan to read next.

(2) Include an Australian postal address for delivery, should you win.

(3) Stay tuned to the That Book You Like Facebook page, as a winner will be drawn at random midnight 4 November 2013. You can enter any time until then. The winner will be announced on Facebook and will receive an email too.

As a bonus, if you invite a friend to enter, and they mention your name in their email, you’ll get an extra entry yourself.

If you’d like to find out more about Steve Worland’s Combustion, visit the Penguin website here.