105. Justin Somper: Bestselling Vampirates Author on Australian Beaches, New York’s Studio 54, Magical Coincidences and Not So Magical Prejudices

The year is 2505. The oceans have risen. A new era of piracy has dawned…Justin Somper’s vision of a future world in the bestselling Vampirates books has been very much influenced by his passion for Australia, which has lead to much exploring and also even his recent wedding on the beach. In the rain. As well as Australia we talk New York’s Studio 54 and Broadway, Washington DC’s homophobic hostel owner, the surrealness of Bangkok, hanging out with Isla Fisher in London and so much more.

 

 

On this episode we cover:

 

Almost getting stuck down under for lockdown

Marrying his now husband in Perth, Australia in early 2020

Torrential rain for the beach wedding on the Margaret River 

Lisa ballooning over outer Melbourne fields at sunrise

The beautiful atmosphere and landscapes of Australian wineries

When everyone was obsessed with Home and Away and Neighbours

Hanging out with Isla Fisher in London

Finding Australian forthright personalities particularly attractive

The book Cloud Street (set in Perth in the 1960s) by Tim Winton

Bill Bryson’s Down Under (and the personal email Bill sent)  

Perth’s beautiful botanic gardens

Visiting out back cattle ranch and sheep farms

Sheep shearing being a great way to learn how to cut hair

New York feeling super energised

The excitement of Broadway shows

Wanting to time travel back to the glory days of Studio 54 (on roller skates)

New York being best seen by foot

Falling asleep in a Katie Holmes show

The surreal nature of Bangkok

Looking for the sense of difference when travelling 

But places being homogenised by worldwide brands

Lisa’s favourite restaurant in Bangkok, run by Australians

(It’s still there! Yay) Travel as a gay man

Being thrown out of a hostel in Washington DC

The Vampirates books being published in 35 countries around the world

But some of these countries being somewhere he wouldn’t feel comfortable going

Prejudice for gay people in Russia, Brazil and the Emirates

His books being for older school children upwards

Setting the books 500 years in the future with a lot less land and a lot more water

A huge coincidence during the magical sunset tour of Uluru

Familiar and unexpected faces Greek Islands

‘Living to eat’, particularly when travelling

The best fish restaurant in Tasmania

The Neverending Summer riverside restaurant in Bangkok

Thai food’s amazing tastes

New Year’s Eve in Krabi, Thailand

How sometimes you need a pause in tastes

The brilliant Crowded House