Q & A with Graeme Simsion, author of "The Rosie Project"

The Rosie Project has been a word of mouth phenomenon since it's publication in 2011.  The warmhearted and funny story of Don Tillman and his efforts to find a wife resonated with readers all over Australia and further afield, making first time author Graeme Simsion a bestselling author.
And now there is a sequel - The Rosie Effect.
Graeme Simsion was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions about his new book for us.  See what he had to say about The Rosie Effect.

PP:  The sequel to your bestselling book The Rosie Project, called The Rosie Effect has just been released.  Can you tell us a little about what to expect from the new book?

GS:  More of Don.  And Rosie and Gene and Claudia and Dave.  Plus, a few new characters.  Once again, Don will be under pressure, this time with a great deal more to lose - job, marriage, liberty.  and he'll tackle the problems in his own totally logical way.

PP:  So Rosie and Don are about to take part in a Mother and Father Project!  Does Don have a name for this new project?

GS:  The Baby Project.

PP:  We understand that Don is an amalgam of people who you have worked with.  Can you tell us a little more about how you found his voice?

GS:  You're right - Don was stitched together from fragments of people I know, with a little bit of myself, of course.  (There's a bit of me in every character, even Rosie).  There is no "Real Don" out there looking for a partner!  The voice began with the voice of a good friend, whose story also inspired the first draft of The Klara Project, which became The Rosie Project.  Much has changed since then besides the title.  My friend doesn't say greetings!   (But I have this other friend who does.....)

PP:  And Rosie?

GS:  Rosie too was stitched together from fragments of people I know, but less consciously.  Friends have since pointed out that she speaks a bit like X; she looks a bit like Y; she's got an attitude a bit like Z.  Where X, Y and Z are different people!

PP:  Don is a great writer of lists.  If you were to write a to-do list for aspiring authors, what would be on it?

GS:  Item 1:  Imagine your goal is to be a neurosurgeon or a professional tennis player or to play in a symphony orchestra (or a sucessful rock bank, depending on your taste).  Plan to do the same amount of work to get there (there are probably few jobs as bestselling authors and more aspirants).
You'll pick up the other items along the way.

PP:  A year and a half on from when The Rosie Project was published, it is still a huge bestseller in Australia and abroad.  Why do you think that your book has struck such a chord with readers?

GS:  It appeals to a very broad range of readers:  from people looking for a fun love story to those interested in what I hope is a commentary on the human condition.  It addresses a topic - the autism spectrum - that's currently attracting attention (and many people know someone on the spectrum).  And readers find it laugh-out-loud-funny.

PP:  You've said in the past that you wrote The Rosie Project very quickly as you had already developed the idea as a screenplay.  How then, was writing The Rosie Effect?  And is The Rosie Effect screenplay on the cards as well?

GS:  Easier.  I had the main characters, the voice and some experience in writing.  With The Rosie Project I was still learning the basics of the craft.  No news on the screenplay yet.

PP:  And a film of The Rosie Project - is that coming to our screens soon.....?

GS:  The screenplay is in development with Sony Pictures.  No casting or release date yet.

PP:  Are you reading anything great at the moment?

GS:  I'm about to pick up This House of Grief by Helen Garner, having just finished a very close read and critique of my partner's (Anne Buist) manuscript for Medea's Curse, to be published by Text in January.

The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect are in store now.