Peter FitzSimons writes eight hours a day.
This man has written 27 books. And they sell. He is easily one of the best-selling non-fiction authors Australia has ever produced. As well as his historical books, He’s written biographies of two former Wallaby Captains. Editor Nene King. Sir Douglas Mawson. The list goes on.
So when he came in to speak to Mia Freedman on the latest episode of No Filter, Mia couldn’t help but ask him where he finds the time.
The answer? Wherever I can.
“When I’m picked up in an hour from now, with one minute of being in the car, I will be back at it,” he says.
Listen to the full episode here:
He says since the laptop was invented, he hasn’t travelled without it. It’s always within reach.
“I love to write. I start each day eight hours of solid writing shy of feeling like I’ve had a good day. When I get to my eight I feel satisfied. If I get to 10, I’ve had a great day. If I get to 12 I’ve had a fabulous day and I feel strong.”
“It’s a thing that I love to do it and it doesn’t feel like work.”
So what are his tips?
1. Focus on the Fine Detail.
“Notes to my researchers say FD, FD, FD. Fine detail.”
“Nancy Wake, the White Mouse, told me that the sound of a bullet passing your ear is the sound of a kitten meowing.”
“It brings [a story] alive.”
2. Find the breath and life in everything.
When I say to you, that when Mawson was in Antarctica and it got to 40 degrees below zero – well what the hell does that mean? But if I say to you: “It was so cold that the sailors loved it. Because all they had to do was go out on deck, rub their hands over their frozen whiskers and all of their frozen beard would fall out – and their (faces) would be as clear as a baby’s bottom. That’s what brings the story alive. To make the reader feel like they are in the moment.”
3. Never miss the sights, sounds and smells.
“It’s not enough to say that Mia was sitting in the studio – what are the sounds and the sights and the smells? There has to be something to put the reader in the moment.”