Me and Rory Macbeath
Adelaide, 1977. The year Elvis died. And the year twelve-year-old Jake Taylor meets Rory Macbeath. Until then, Jake's world was small, revolving around his street, his school, and the courthouse where his mum, Harry, was a barrister. His best friend lives only a few houses away.
For them daylight is for spinning a cricket ball, riding bikes around the neighbourhood and swimming at the pool until their skin is wrinkled and the zinc on their noses has washed away. But then Rory Macbeath moves into the red-brick house at the end of Rose Avenue and everything changes.
At first Jake has his doubts about Rory. But after long days and nights of swimming, fishing and daring each other into trouble, Jake discovers Rory has talents and courage beyond anyone he's ever known. Then, early one evening, Rory disappears. And everyone on Rose Avenue is about to discover why.
For Jake and Rory, nothing will ever be the same.
Richard Beasley lives in Sydney, and is the author of two previous novels: Hell Has Harbour Views, which was adapted for ABC Television in 2005, and The Ambulance Chaser. He is also a barrister, and was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1997. He was appointed Silk in 2011.
Me and Rory Macbeath
Author: Richard Beasley
Interview with Richard Beasley
Question: What inspired the story of Me and Rory Macbeath?
Richard Beasley: Even before I wrote my first book, I was thinking about writing a novel about how different childrens' lives are now compared to the late 1970s when I was a tween. My friends and I used to run amok in the streets during school holidays, with very little parental supervision. We had fun, came to no harm, and there wasn't a Playstation or Nintendo device between us. Then, although unrelated at first, at University I did an honours thesis on domestic violence. Eventually these things merged into Me and Rory Macbeath
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Richard Beasley: Not any single person. I grew up knowing and meeting a lot of strong women though, and Harry Taylor, the narrator's mother, is an amalgam of parts of some of them.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character Jake Taylor?
Richard Beasley: He's a very reliable narrator. My sons would like him. He has a powerful sense of fairness and justice, which he gets from his mum. He will always stand up to men who are bullies. He will never fall for a superficial woman.
Question: Why did you decide to set the book in Adelaide, 1977?
Richard Beasley: I've lived in Sydney for over 20 years, but I grew up in the Adelaide suburbs, so that's where it felt natural to set the book.
Question: Which of the children in the book is most like you?
Richard Beasley: Jake has my sense of humour. Otherwise, he is smarter, braver, more talented, and much less selfish. Which is why he would not be a barrister.
Interview by Brooke Hunter