Quintette of Questions: Tim Richards

Cover of Heading South

Today I’m asking Tim Richards 5 questions about his new book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

Heading South: Far North Queensland to Western Australia by Rail. The Heading South part came to me as a synonym for the failing career which had fuelled the desire to do the journey. I had to fight for it with the publisher though (well, justify it with more ‘south’ references in the text. There’s quite a lot of westward travel too).

2. What five words best describe your story?

Trains, people, landscapes, cities, history.

3. What historical time period/fictional world would you most like to visit?

‘Marvellous Melbourne’, that is Melbourne in the 1880s. It was at the height of its powers then, Australia’s pre-eminent city and a place of outstanding wealth and confidence. It’d be good to be back there, strolling ‘The Block’ in my finest threads on a Saturday, then dropping into EW Cole’s extravagant Book Arcade before ending up at the palatial Grand Coffee Palace (now the Hotel Windsor) on Spring Street for coffee and cake.

4. What kind of transport – fictional or real – would you most like to try?

I’ve been in many trains from fast to slow, buses, ferries, ships, aircraft, seaplanes, helicopters, and on horses and camels – but I’ve never been in a hot-air balloon. Probably should do that one next.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

For Heading South, has to be Don’t Stop Believing by Journey – particularly for the line:

He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.

About Heading South

Freelance travel writer and Lonely Planet guidebook contributor Tim Richards decides to shake up his life by taking an epic rail journey across Australia. Jumping aboard iconic trains like the Indian PacificOverland and Spirit of Queensland, he covers over 7,000 kilometres, from the tropics to the desert and from big cities to ghost towns. Tim’s journey is one of classic travel highs and lows: floods, cancellations, extraordinary landscapes and forays into personal and public histories – as well as the steady joy of random strangers encountered along the way.

Buy Heading South

About Tim Richards

Tim Richards is a freelance travel writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world, including Lonely Planet’s guidebooks. He fell into travel writing after living and teaching in Egypt and Poland, and is especially drawn to the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. He’s a light-packing obsessive, and loves chasing down a story with a historical angle. He lives in Melbourne’s lively central business district with his novelist wife, Narrelle M. Harris.

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