Sunday, May 22, 2011

G'Day L.A. by Tony McFadden

G'Day L.A.
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Aussie Ellie Bourke came to LA a year ago to advance her acting career. She had no idea she’d have to solve a murder to find that success. When Ellie finds her room mate dead of an apparent suicide she’s ready to pack it in and head back to Australia. Until she hears something that leads her to believe he was killed. Can Ellie convince the police that her best friend’s death wasn’t suicide? Or accidental? Can she stay alive herself, now that the killer knows what Ellie knows? And can she find a career in a city that cares more for what’s on the outside than on the inside?

Tony McFadden is an Electrical Engineer who has spend the better part of his career wandering the world, with his wife and kids, helping sort out mobile phone networks. A Canadian now firmly planted in Australia he is working slavishly toward the life as a writer.

What will readers like about your book?

It’s your typical fish-out-of-water, coming-of-age murder mystery. Readers will enjoy watching Ellie grow as a person and should find some amusement in the behind the scenes machinations of Hollywood.

Why did you self publish?

For three years I sent query letters to agents and received either no response or a form letter indicating that their workload was off the hook and they didn’t have space for any more authors. Over the last couple of years self-publishing has taken off both in legitimacy and scope. Seemed like a good time to give it a shot myself.

What is your writing process?

I’m a die-hard plotter. There’s a continuous idea mill running around in my head (I know what the next four books will be about, generally). When it’s time to write I spend about six or eight weeks plotting and researching. For example, the one I’m about to write (and just finished plotting) I researched the Miami-Dade and Metro-Dade County Police structure, location of different stations, how the coroner’s department is set up, DNA typing, some basic forensic techniques, history of the non-Italian mobs in South Florida, yada, yada, yada. Once the plotting is complete I write the first draft. The Draft sits while I clean up previous works or start plotting the next – whichever is next on the plate.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Once the plotting is complete? It’s to the chapter level so a first draft goes fast – 4 to 6 weeks. G’Day LA’s 1st draft was written in November, 2010. In it’s entirety.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’ve heard a few Australian actresses interviewed on the radio here in Sydney, most notably Sophie Monk, and the self-deprecating, grounded attitude was refreshing. I thought it would be cool to have a young Aussie actress mix it up with the bleached-blonde, teeth-capped fakes that seem to populate SoCal.


Ellie had returned. 

‘Listen, I object strenuously to being typecast as a tom-boy just because - ’ She stopped and watched Desiray’s double-D dance. ‘Excuse me. I didn’t realize the casting couch was real.’
Trudy was up from her desk and running to shut the door. ‘You can’t barge in here like that.’
‘I just did.’ Ellie couldn’t take her eyes off Desiray, mesmerized by the sight.

Desiray, for her part, was still blinded by the t-shirt. She turned in ever-decreasing circles in an attempt to extricate herself, the t-shirt currently stuck on her chin, left ear and the extensions on the back of her head. ‘Who just came in? I can’t see. Can somebody help me with this?’

Steve nodded at Trudy. ‘My assistant will help you put the shirt back on. I don’t want to see your breasts. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve enjoyed seeing them, but it’s not necessary. We need to see you in your bikini, not nude. Maybe for another day.’ 

He looked at Ellie, shook his head and sighed, imagining a roast beef, lettuce and tomato, Swiss and hot English mustard on multigrain. ‘Career suicide? That’s your next move? I can suggest better, more efficient ways, but barging into an audition nears the top of the list. What is your problem?’

‘You. This whole business. The idea that only one specific person can play any given role. Any one of the girls out there, including the seventeen tit-less who you sent away, could do the three minutes on this show and it wouldn’t make any difference. Nobody would care. Viewers are going to forget the character as soon as she leaves the screen. She’s a foil. A piece of eye-candy distraction. 

The audition process for this should be the first person who shows up, gets it.’ She was breathing heavy now, full head of steam and going for the kill. ‘You just force this audition process,’ she air quoted audition, ‘so you can parade a bevy of mostly unclad bimbos around for your sick sexual gratification.’ She paused. Steve opened his mouth to reply and she walked all over him. 

‘Career suicide? I need a career first. I’ve been pushing boulders uphill since I got here. Sisyphus had nothing on me. I’m beginning to really hate this city. I came back here to force you to audition me, but fuck it. I’m going to head back to Australia where at least people are real.’
Steve had a half-smile on his face. ‘Sisyphus. Told you that you were too smart.’ He sighed. 

‘So you’re saying this is a disposable business?’

‘Damn straight it is. Like plastic wine glasses. Fancy-assed from a distance, but cheap, disposable crap once you’re up close.’

‘You’ll do well here if you remember that. You’re as good as what you’ve just done.’ He shrugged. ‘Sorry, but that’s the way it is. When a thirty-foot wave is coming at you, you can either try to swim against it, or ride it. You should ride it.’ He winked at her. ‘And you might want to reconsider your views on these small parts. Robin Williams played a small part on “Happy Days” that spun off to “Mork and Mindy” and launched his career. “Happy Days” also spun off “Laverne and Shirley” from a couple of small parts.’

‘And “Joanie Loves Chachi”, so don’t tell me they all work.’

Steve shook his head. ‘You’re missing the point. Laverne and Mork were small, “three minute parts” as you call them. Joanie and Chachi were main characters who tried to have a life after their gravy train made its final stop.’

‘Oh. Like “Joey”.’

Steve put his left index finger on his nose and pointed at her with his right. ‘Perzactly. By jove, I think she’s got it. Now get the fuck out of my audition and stop bothering me. I’ve got tits to judge.’ He smiled and pointed to the door. ‘Please.’

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