On the Couch with Gabriel Bergmoser

Gabriel Bergmoser Arts Review On the CouchWho is Gabriel Bergmoser?
Melbourne based playwright, author and critic. Somehow won the Academy’s Sir Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting award last year and since then have been working on various different film, television and theatre projects. My first published novel, Boone Shepard comes out on April 26.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
That’s a tricky one; I’m not really good at anything else (some would claim I’m not even that good at writing) so I never really considered any alternate career options. The only other thing I could see myself doing is playing violin in a Celtic string band. I reckon that would be a delight.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m gonna cheat and name two people. One is Martin McDonagh, the English playwright, director and screenwriter who wrote In Bruges and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. I love how he manages to craft these scripts that are equally moving and hilarious while keeping you wondering what will happen next, all in a way that is so unique. If there was anybody whose career I would want to emulate it would be his. The other person is Bruce Springsteen. I once read that there’s a Springsteen song for every occasion, and I think that is so true; there’s something beautiful about the way he writes and how he conveys so much pain and romance and hope in everything he does.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Generally speaking, I have no idea. I’m pretty apolitical and think it would be disingenuous of me to claim that there was any impact I planned to have on the world that was outside the realm of just writing stories that hopefully entertain people. But if I had to choose something it would be to tighten gun laws in America because seriously, some things are ridiculous.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Tricky; I’ve never really been much of a traveller. If I’m being honest, it’s probably something boring like Port Douglas or Warburton in the Yarra Valley. I don’t know if somewhere an hour and a half away counts as a holiday, but whatever, I like going there to write. Otherwise, every Christmas I go to visit family in Canberra and while the city isn’t the most exciting place, there’s nothing I like more than going to the Arboretum first thing in the morning and spending a whole day writing while looking out over the trees, the lake and the city.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Probably the State Library. I’m a huge Ned Kelly obsessive and I can’t quite believe that his armour and so many other artefacts are just there for free to look at and barely anybody knows about it. Aside from anything else, it’s also just a beautiful building and just a great place to be.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve made the unwise decision to commit to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I’m currently in book four of fourteen and each one is roughly the size of a cinderblock. Still, it’s a great, immersive read and I’m having a lovely time.

What are you currently listening to?
I wish I had a more interesting answer than Bruce Springsteen, but I don’t. Every few months I end up with a new favourite album of his, and currently it’s Tunnel of Love, which is like this haunting, sad reflection on the breakdown of his first marriage. Otherwise, Taylor Swift.

Happiness is?
Reading, writing, watching, hearing a good story. Either that or steak.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a scenario where I can comfortably make a living through telling stories, in whatever medium. Being rich and famous would be nice, but if I can get by doing what I love, that’ll be enough. I’ve still got a few more Boone Shepard books to release, plus a play of mine opening in New York and a few other scripts in development, so it looks like I’ll be busy for the next little while at least. I hope.

A gothic adventure about a young Australian journalist who lives in 1960s England, Gabriel’s first published novel, Boone Shepard will be available from Tuesday 26 April 2016. For more information, visit: www.bellfrogbooks.com for details.

Image: Gabriel Bergmoser