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Best-selling author Bradley Trevor Greive on books, Hollywood and fresh Tasmanian air

Sep 13, 2017
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Updated September 13, 2017 16:15:19

Tasmanian-born author Bradley Trevor Greive is happy to once again be inhaling the “cleanest air in the world”.

The best-selling author has returned to his beloved home state to share the tricks of the publishing trade at this week’s Tasmanian Writers Festival.

Greive, who now spends his time between Los Angeles and Alaska, is happy to be back in his home state.

“You get here and it almost hurts it’s so clean, the air is cleaner here than anywhere else in the world,” he told ABC Radio Hobart.

“When my feet touched the ground … there was just this almost perverse pleasure in inhaling Tasmanian air again after several years away.”

Greive will be taking in more of that air when filming starts on his next venture, a travel series called Friends of the Devil with local company Rummin Productions.

“I had a burning desire to do some projects back home, for an excuse to come back home, and we had an idea for an adventure-travel comedy series,” he said.

His co-star is friend and Australian actor Adam Zwar, star of ABC TV’s Agony Aunts, Lowdown and Wilfred.

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“We’re the odd couple,” he said.

“He’s a tiny little gingernut and I’m a big hairy hulk and we will have a lot of fun with a genuine friendship which is at the core of this,” Greive said.

Greive said Friends of the Devil was a “travel show” and “a comedy” and warned he had “no doubt there’ll be a certain amount of of misadventure, bleeding and vomiting”.

“It will be a great way to showcase some of the famous and perhaps less well-known wonders of Tasmania.”

“I’m an ex-paratrooper … who has had my share of survival courses and I spend half my year in Alaska tracking giant brown bears. I’m a legitimate outdoorsy type.

“Adam hasn’t been camping since 1987 with his dad in the Atherton Tablelands and that only lasted one night.”

Grieve is best known for the Blue Day Book, an international success, but has also penned a book tracing the story of how a Sydney woman Sam Bloom came to befriend an injured magpie after an accident which left her a paraplegic.

The book features photographs taken by her husband Cameron who documented the unusual friendship, one which is credited with helping her beat depression.

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“I was so moved by the story by the courage of Sam Bloom and by the gifts of Cameron who really took these photographs as a form of therapy,” he said.

“He basically became a full-time carer and a single father at that moment and he coped with that by creating these beautiful photographs.”

The Blooms approached Grieve whom they had met several years before the accident.

“I had the challenge of writing the narrative around it and I have to tell you I cried my unattractive face off over 12 months writing the book,” he said.

“It was an absolutely exhausting journey and I’m just so glad that people love it.”

Navigating Hollywood bullsh*t

With his help on the ground in Hollywood, the Penguin Bloom book is now being made into a movie starring Naomi Watts and produced by Reese Witherspoon.

“We knew that it had cinematic potential from the beginning and I’ve been in the game long enough to be able to navigate the various stratums of bullshit in Hollywood,” Greive said.

“We knew that we wanted Naomi Watts to play Sam. We eventually did get Naomi Watts and because we got her to do it, everybody came on board.

“It’s been a wonderful journey and I feel very grateful to have had the right experience at the right time to make this happen.”

Staying the course as a writer

Greive is in his home state giving sold-out “crash-course” masterclasses for local writers on the fundamentals of how to get published.

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And after publishing 24 books, selling 30 million copies in seven languages, he’s got some cred.

He is urging writers being rejected to persevere and get creative about how they sell their manuscripts to potential publishers.

“So many talented Tasmanian authors and others end up in the slush pile because they stood in the queue like dumb cattle and didn’t apply their creativity to every aspect of the process,” he said.

“[The masterclasses] are all about how to write a book proposal properly, so you actually get your book selected and explaining the mechanics of publishing.

“I am a paratrooper so it’s die first, quit later.

“Once you’ve finished a book and you haven’t sold it, you should start the next book almost immediately. That’s what writers do, they write.”

Other guests at the festival include British philosopher and author AC Grayling and feminist writer Clementine Ford.

Topics: books-literature, author, human-interest, birds, tas

First posted September 13, 2017 16:10:28

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