The Thriller Zone

On today's 166th episode of The Thriller Zone, as we launch February here in Season SIX, we're thrilled to welcome New York Times Bestselling Author Terry Hayes, the author of the epic novel I AM PILGRIM.

In this conversation, host David Temple interviews Terry Hayes about his book 'The Year of the Locust' as well as many of his upcoming projects. The conversation begins with a warm welcome and introduction, then dives into a discussion about Terry's new book, as David expresses his admiration for it.

Terry continues by sharing insights into the writing process and the inspiration behind the book, while also touching upon Terry's excitement and nervousness about the anticipation of the new book from his fans.

David and Terry concludes this engaging conversation with a question about Terry's personal preferences in writing, as well as signing off with David's signature "Best Writing Advice" for aspiring actors.

All in, it's a wonderful discussion with a true legend in Hollywood. As Terry says, when asked about the lack of a website and any social media presence, he says, "The best way to learn more about to buy my books; that's where my true heart lies."

Buy The Year Of The Locust wherever you buy your books.

To learn more, to follow along, and to subscribe to, visit: and You can also FOLLOW us on X & Instagram @thethrillerzone

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00:00 Introduction and Welcome
01:17 Discussion about the Book
02:31 Upcoming Projects
03:52 Personal Preferences in Writing

The Thriller Zone with David Temple is sponsored in part by Blackstone Publishing.

What is The Thriller Zone?

Join podcast host and thriller author David Temple as he gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

David Temple (00:00.086)
All right. Well, I know we got 30 minutes, so I'm going to still stay close to that. Are you in Liberace's living room?

Terry Hayes (00:05.35)

Terry Hayes (00:11.474)
I know, look,these are by an artist called Borek Cipak, who is an absolute genius. And I had the very good fortune of recognizing this many years ago. And I bought these cantalabra. And I have made money on them. And because he's become, yeah, he's not Picasso, but he's become

David Temple (00:31.467)
I love him.

Terry Hayes (00:41.026)
sort of well acknowledged. And so when I moved to Lisbon, I bought some things from the house in Australia, the house in New Zealand that meant something to me. And late at night, late at night, I light them and I wander around the streets of Lisbon with them.

David Temple (00:42.551)

David Temple (01:01.647)
I love him. By the way, it was not making fun. I love candelabras. It just made me think of our late friend. And yeah. Well, first of all, welcome to the Thriller Zone. What an honor to be with you.

Terry Hayes (01:08.541)

Terry Hayes (01:14.563)
Well, thank you. Thank you for that.

David Temple (01:17.378)
This thing right here, I didn't have time to go to the gym this morning, so I just picked up two copies of Year of the Locust and I'm doing overhead presses.

Holy bananas.

Terry Hayes (01:31.318)
Yeah, yeah. I don't know how to write short. I don't. I wish I did. I'd be very wealthy, but no, it's got to be epic, I'm afraid.

David Temple (01:42.702)
Well, first of all, I don't think you should ever worry about that because people you know, I used to i've always been like that 300 350 page count i'm like, oh that's perfect. And so generally speaking. Mr Hayes, you would never find me Walking around with an epic like this at nearly 800 However, and we're gonna deal we're gonna dive deep on this. This is one of the most amazing books

I've ever read.

Terry Hayes (02:13.586)
Well, thank you very much for that. It's easy for me to say it's one of the most amazing books I've ever written, because I've only written two. But thank you. I mean, it's a nerve-wracking time for me, a very nerve-wracking time. So this is all great to hear.

David Temple (02:31.53)
Well, before we start raving, I mean, talking about the year of the locust, I'd like to let my listeners know what you've been up to. Now, I have to imagine that you are maybe possibly potentially working on the next and you're not held to anything here because I know there's plenty of people, droves of people going, it's been 10 years. When are we going to get another one? So I'm not going to put you in that position, but. OK, what are you doing? What are you doing next?

Terry Hayes (02:56.722)
All right, now go right ahead, it's fine. I'm doing Pilgrim 2. I was in the midst of locust and at a very low ebb, very low emotional, physical energy ebb. You know, I was down the bottom of the barrel and the publishers realized this and they thought, oh my God, he's vulnerable. So they called me and said, you know, you could make a fair amount of money.

out of doing Pilgrim II. I said, well, you know, that's not my motivating factor, except, of course, that Locust had taken a very long time to get to print and I wasn't sure I could ever write anything again. It was tough. So anyway, so I signed on the dotted line and these, you know, they come across very charming people, very lovely, but they're not, but they're not, don't make that mistake.

David Temple (03:52.535)
Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah.

Terry Hayes (03:56.954)
They wrote into the contract that I had very strict delivery dates and quite significant financial penalties if I don't hit them. So not only am I writing it, it's going to be written to a deadline and it's going to come a lot quicker than Locust did.

David Temple (04:13.846)
Now, can I ask you a personal question? Do you, if you have a preference, just a personal preference, someone said to you, Terry, you just take as long as you want. Do you like working in that arena? Or like some people, they kind of like to be pushed into the corner just a wee bit to force them to make sure they're up to snuff and on time.

Terry Hayes (04:35.474)
Yeah, you know, I used to be a journalist, a reporter. So, you know, I know about deadline pressure. I also know about the compromises you have to make. But, you know, when I went into this, you know, after the movies and everything, and I'd been fortunate, I'd had some success and we had, you know, a reasonable amount of financial, you know, sustainability. And that, I decided what sort of writer I wanted to be.

David Temple (05:01.724)
and that what sort of writer I wanted to be, I wanted to be a person who wrote epic stories. So can you hear that? Something has happened on my end. I lost a little audio. Can you hang on just one quick second? Just make sure, I'd hate to get all the way down the road and realize that, now you can hear me okay.

Terry Hayes (05:05.35)
I wanted to be a person who wrote epic stories. So can you hear that?

Terry Hayes (05:17.912)
Oh, sure.

Yeah. No, no. Yeah, you're perfect.

David Temple (05:25.731)
Something changed on...

Terry Hayes (05:27.982)
Yeah, I lost you vision wise for a moment. And then, yeah, I can hear some of you.

David Temple (05:36.851)
Okay, you got me now? Are we better now? Okay. All right. Well, I apologize. It there, you know, there isn't, uh, I always say to you say to my mother, electronics are not perfect and there's always little ghosts in the machine. So we're good. We're back to good. Okay.

Terry Hayes (05:41.007)

Terry Hayes (05:52.07)
got. Yeah, we're back to good. And I was, I was just saying that, you know, when I went into, you know, after the movies, man, that provided, you know, a reasonable amount of financial security, because you know, that they had been successful. I had to decide what sort of writer I wanted to be now. Dean Kunz, an American writer, their Washington Post had a had a profile of him a couple months back, and he's written 109 books, which is

breathtaking. I mean, this is beyond admirable. This is sort of miraculous. So, you know, I am not disparaging that in any way. That is his business plan. That is his psychology. That is his method. And God bless him for that. On the other hand, JRR Tolkien wrote two books, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit. So all of us have a decision to make.

David Temple (06:22.422)

David Temple (06:27.532)

David Temple (06:42.906)
Uh huh.

Terry Hayes (06:50.542)
not just in writing, but in life in general. Where do you wanna pitch your tent, you know? Well, I decided to pitch my tent in the epic end of things. And that's so, I think Pilgrim was about a quarter of a million words and Locust is about 270,000 words. And they were the books I liked reading. And they were the books that I was gonna write. James Clavell, Shogun, Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

a lot of Stephen King's work. And so that's where I wanted to go. I don't think there's any right or wrong in it. I think that there is just what suits you. So I start on this journey and I give myself a deadline and then it moves and then it moves more and then it moves a lot more and then it keeps moving because at the end of the day, I had to get it finished.

David Temple (07:22.148)

Terry Hayes (07:47.646)
I just had to, and I had the publishers on the phone to me every day or two, saying, look, we can't shift the date yet again. So I knew the deadline pressure at the end. Leading up to that, I was taking my own time because I figure this is going to, these books, and hopefully there'll be quite a number more, are going to outlive me. No, my kids are going to read this. Yeah, I'll read whatever novels I've read.

David Temple (08:09.22)

Terry Hayes (08:15.95)
and know more about their dad than their memories will provide. Because, you know, I yell at them all the time. I mean, all the parents, my parents are the same. You don't have time to sit down and, you know, ruminate with them and pass on intellectual ideas, should you have any. No, don't do that. For God's sake, what were you thinking? No, you can't. What have you just spent? How much? We all know that.

David Temple (08:23.344)

David Temple (08:43.871)

Terry Hayes (08:46.602)
I'll be able to sit down at some time in the future and read this stuff and say, my God, he's not as stupid as we thought.

David Temple (08:58.993)
And isn't it a shame that they only learn that maybe a little too late?

Terry Hayes (09:04.334)
Yeah, but you know, it's the same for all of us, isn't it? Yeah, both my parents passed away, and yeah, I look back at it differently to when I was living it. So, you know, I think it just goes with the territory.

David Temple (09:20.003)
There are so many things I want to talk about and I want to be really respectful of your time. So I'm going to keep, I'm going to try to move as quickly as I can with only two novels to your credit. That in and of itself, that doesn't bother me. I don't care. I'm not a, I'm not really a numbers guy in one sense because it takes what it takes. You're going to do what you're going to do when you get there. Now the fact that you had this rather prolific career as well in screenplay writing, I'd love to drill down.

on that for just a minute because I love movies. I love screenwriting. I love the screenwriting process. So, and I know this is a tough question because you just spent a pretty good amount of time telling me your method, but do you have, especially since you found screenwriting kind of early and you did very well at it, do you have a favorite between the two or perhaps even better yet, what do you like more about one over the other?

Terry Hayes (10:14.734)
Yeah, don't be a screenwriter. Never, never be a screenwriter. Slit your throat, I promise you. Yeah. Well, look, there's a way to be successful in movies, and I didn't understand that until it was too late. No, the way to be successful is to be a writer director, like Oliver Stone, like Chris Nolan, like all of that. The directors are the stars.

David Temple (10:24.148)
Oh, really?

Terry Hayes (10:43.798)
And you know, there has to be somebody in this circus that's, you know, scheduling everything and creating it. And it's the director and the writers there to provide something and have to deal with the actors often because directors hiding out in this trailer. So you have a very important function, but the leader of the team is the director. So...

David Temple (10:52.09)

Terry Hayes (11:12.23)
they are treated with enormous respect. Writers, in my experience in Hollywood, not in Australia, but in my experience in Hollywood, writers are a necessary evil until AI comes along, in which case they will be an unnecessary evil. And you don't get much respect, oh yeah, they talk to you nicely and stuff, but it's a very, very taxing place to work. And it...

David Temple (11:27.991)

Terry Hayes (11:41.934)
you never actually feel that you were the author of this movie, that this movie only exists with you. But of course, with Chris Nolan or Oliver Stone, George Miller, a whole lot of directors, yes, it is without a doubt their movie because they wrote and directed it. So that's the path I would have gone on. Hey, with the novel, it's just you. It's you. You're on the in the playoff. The third hole of the playoff at Augusta.

David Temple (11:47.387)

David Temple (12:03.862)

Terry Hayes (12:10.682)
and you've got a 40 foot putt to sink and you do it. Well, you miss it. And if you miss it, everybody goes, oh, he choked. It's, yeah, yeah.

David Temple (12:15.255)

David Temple (12:19.947)
Yeah, they're either going to cheer or clap or scowl. You know, wasn't it Hitchcock that storyboarded every frame of his movie and then shot only the storyboard so that Hollywood machine couldn't come in and alter the cut.

Terry Hayes (12:38.754)
Yes, yes, but also he said, very interesting, the movie's finished the day pre-production starts. He was not one of these guys, he wasn't one of these guys that thought, well, we're making up on the set, we'll improv this. He wasn't Robert Altman, you know, sort of say, well, let's all hang out together and maybe take some drugs, and somebody will come up with a good idea. No, it wasn't like that at all.

Now, you know, he was the author of those movies. They had his signature. I can't even name for you, and I know a reasonable amount about movies. I can't even name for you who have the screenwriters work. I mean, I sit down and watch movies with my kids, some of the Marvel movies. I look at the credits and, you know, there's a lot of writers involved. And I said to my kids, I know what it would be like. You'd be sitting in the cinema, in the theater.

with your kids and you'd be saying, wait, that line of dialogue, I wrote that. Now we can get popcorn. Well, that wasn't my idea. I can't offer better or for worse. I'll give it my own shot.

David Temple (13:43.555)

David Temple (13:48.535)
You know, you mentioned something about Australia and my wife and I are huge content consumers and we've noticed a rather large sweep of work coming out of Australia. Is that my imagination or are you, is that the case? Cause there's a lot of it coming out. Right now.

Terry Hayes (13:59.496)

Terry Hayes (14:06.678)
Yeah, yeah, you know, Australia has a number of huge advantages and primary amongst which is we speak real English, whereas of course nobody else in the world does. But it is comprehensible to those in Britain and those in America, so that's a big advantage. The Australian new wave of which, you know, I was honoured to be a part of, really led to a great

David Temple (14:26.66)

Terry Hayes (14:36.418)
array of craft skills. You would be amazed at the number of Australians who've won Oscars for sound design, for cinematography, for costume design. It has a real depth of talent there, which is unusual for a country of 27 million people. The Australian dollar's cheap. We get very good, or Australia, I don't live there anymore, but Australia gets very good, gives very good tax incentives. So you have sort of like...

an ideal scenario to produce stuff for streamers, features, all of that. So you're correct. You and your wife are absolutely correct. Yeah. We're taking over the world. The gum leaf mafia is on the move.

David Temple (15:20.545)
Well, I've always wanted to visit Australia. It's in my top five places that I want to go, especially Sydney. For some reason that seemed there's a certain magic about that city from everything I read and study. It's just and you're are you from you were born in England, but you spent a lot of time.

Terry Hayes (15:31.514)

Terry Hayes (15:35.994)
Yeah. Well, I was a migrant kid. I went to Australia when I was five, you know, just my mom, dad, me and my brother. That was it. Nobody else. We didn't have any grandparents there, aunts, uncles, cousins, nothing. We were just, you know, a little family unit that went there. And we went to Sydney and in Australia at that time, there are only seven million people. The landmass of Australia is the same size as continental United States.

So imagine the United States with 7 million people. It was great. You could park at any beach you wanted. There was no traffic because there weren't any cars. Oh, it was fantastic. Now, Sydney is a very large city now with too many people. And a lot of that has been lost. I mean, everybody I knew, and we were not wealthy, we were far from it. I mean, we were...

David Temple (16:09.127)

David Temple (16:12.699)

Terry Hayes (16:32.622)
not in good circumstances. But we lived on a quarter acre block. Everybody else lived on a quarter acre block and we played cricket in the street. You know, I mean, I knew people that had horses down the back of their garden. And we were 25 minutes from the opera house. So it was a magical place to be a kid. We had a creek down the bottom of our garden. My brother found a...

David Temple (16:51.492)

David Temple (16:55.343)

Terry Hayes (17:01.154)
a one dollar note floating down it. And for the next six weeks we were all down there trying to find more money, no such luck. It was like a bit more like, you know, Huckleberry Finn than it would be now.

David Temple (17:12.331)
Yeah. Before you jump into, you're the locust. I do want to mention something. I think we've kind of touched on it, but you're really, you got up there in the Mad Max world and I did not realize I was always a huge fan of that epic saga. And what I loved about it was the renegade aspect of it. The, of course, the character building. And, and I want to ask, I, thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that George Miller, the director,

when he was considering the sequel. And this is, I'm gonna quote this here. He was inspired by Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the work of Carl Jung, plus the films of Akira Kurosawa. And that was when Miller recruited you to join as the script writer. Now, first of all, let's just think about that.

Terry Hayes (17:49.903)


Terry Hayes (18:02.514)
Well can I just stop, just stop you there for one second because I'm now gonna have to edit Wikipedia. As if I haven't got enough work. Yes, George knew all the movies of Kurosawa, of course he did. And I'd seen the Jimbo and a few of the others. We both knew a fair bit about Carl Jung because we probably both needed to be in therapy. I was the one that discovered Joseph Campbell.

David Temple (18:05.988)
Yes, please, sir.


David Temple (18:26.356)

Terry Hayes (18:31.414)
And I introduced George to that. And it was out of that, that we got some understanding, at least primary understanding of why Mad Max 1 had worked. And we decided in our wisdom to take everything that we could from Joseph Campbell and turn it into this strange movie, which is basically Shane, the Alan Ladd picture, set in the Australian.

post-apocalyptic world with a fair bit of Kurosawa chucked in. Go right ahead.

David Temple (19:03.883)
Okay. Well, first of all, get on Wikipedia and edit that thing, would you? I just talking about a trifecta of three different worlds. Um, that's what was so influential. Do you think how many Mad Max is it? Uh, five, six, four. Okay. Uh, I had heard a whiff of it. Do you think this is one of those movies that will just continue to keep going? And.

Terry Hayes (19:09.771)
Yeah, yeah, baby!

Terry Hayes (19:15.388)

Terry Hayes (19:21.823)
Four, four now. The fifths have come out.

David Temple (19:33.315)
Question A question B is how will you have any part of that future?

Terry Hayes (19:39.054)
I won't have any part of it. I see myself as a novelist. I always see myself as a storyteller and I'd always had that ambition to write books. I think that Mad Max taps into something in the zeitgeist, something deep inside of our consciousness. I think that Mad Max 2, Road Warriors, certainly did that.

who's the co-author of the script with George on Max Beyond Thunderdome. And I don't think we hit that out of the park as far as we could have. But then he came back with Fury Road and that's a directorial tour de force. So I think, you know, George is, I guess he must be, you know, close to 80 now. So nobody else could make the movies. So God willing, he will keep making them. And I think they will continue to find.

an audience for as long as people are interested in movies. Because there's something very, I don't wanna say primal, but there's something that hits a nerve deep inside people. And that post-apocalyptic world, which Mad Max 1 was not so much part of, but Mad Max 2 was definitely an absolutely conscious decision to do that. That world,

David Temple (20:37.124)

Terry Hayes (21:02.25)
either appeals or frightens people. So often we go to the movies to be frightened. We often go there because something's appealing. So we sort of got, you know, two out of three aren't bad, I guess.

David Temple (21:18.426)
This book took me longer than ordinary to read. I know that's a huge surprise. I'm usually about a two days. Two days. I can read a book. This, I think this took me almost two weeks. Just ask my wife.

Terry Hayes (21:27.322)

Terry Hayes (21:32.422)
Oh, don't tell the audience that! No, no, backtrack!

David Temple (21:34.923)
No, no, before you jump on me, here's why. And I mean this in all sincerity, if you if you'd ever heard my podcast, and I know this is the first time you've heard it, that's OK. You'll become a fan. This is one of those books, and I can't say this about everything that as I started, you had me at page one and I said, I'm in for a ride of my life and about a fourth of the way in, which was the end of part one.

Terry Hayes (21:47.771)

David Temple (22:03.619)
and there's four parts, I said, now it isn't just a job of mine, if you will, bear with me on that, but it's a joy of mine because now I want to take my time with it. And I would find myself stealing away every little few moments out on the balcony in the bedroom down the street at a coffee shop. And it was just one great experience after another.

until I got to about part four and then I went, this is where I went, what the freak happened? And I'm not gonna give anything away, Terry, I promise ya. But holy bananas, it, at first you almost lost me and then I'm like, no, I'm with ya, I'm doubling down now. And then I just, it was the ride of my life for crying out loud.

Terry Hayes (22:38.747)

Terry Hayes (22:52.578)

Terry Hayes (22:56.754)
Thank you. Thank you, thank you. It was risky. And we can't speak in detail about it. But it is risky, of course. But to me, it's legitimate because you have a spy called, a denied access area spy called Kane, who's qualified to captain a nuclear submarine. He's been to the toughest.

college in America. He's been to nuke school and he's graduated, not at the top, but close enough to the top. And that's who he's a man of science. A man, you know, you don't want me driving a nuclear submarine because, you know, I started to think, oh, well, that's interesting over there. Why don't we do this? He's a man who have very, very firm views and an understanding of complex things. So you take somebody like...

David Temple (23:43.749)

Terry Hayes (23:54.03)
and you project them into a world where that's not gonna save you. You try to expose that person to some of the wonders of the universe. And just one example of this, he's in Iran and his life's on the line. If he gets caught, it's him and four packponies trying to save the world in a way. And that, and he...

has to rendezvous with a man who's got very important information. He comes to a canyon and he, all of his, you know, mission is about going through that canyon. And he stops and he gets a terrible feeling and he doesn't know if it's intuition or whatever it is. One of the horses doesn't want to go forward either. And he stands there and he listens. And the only way he can describe this is that he heard gunfire from the future.

Now what the hell was that, he says to himself. How can you hear gunfire from the future? Now he's got a real crisis on his hands. Does he do what a guy qualified in submarines in an earlier career would do or does he listen to his intuition? And he keeps listening. And he knows they're in there waiting for him. He knows he's a dead man walking. And he knows that if he was on the other side.

That's exactly where he would ambush somebody. And he knows they're gonna shoot the horses first because without horses, without water, without supplies, even if he escapes, he's dead anyway in that environment. So he doesn't go through the canyon. He saves his life. He learns later they were waiting for him. Much later in the book, he sees a vision of New York City in terrible ruins. A catastrophic event has happened. And he's sitting talking to his wife.

and he's trying to describe it to her. And it's very difficult for him to talk about these things because it's, you know, like go and get therapy or be locked up in a mental home. So he's trying to explain it to her. And he says, I see death all around me, all around me. And of course she knows he's a spy by then and she knows what his work is. And she says, yeah, of course you do. It's your death. And he says, no, not at all. It's yours.

David Temple (25:59.963)

Terry Hayes (26:19.534)
Now you have to say to yourself, how does she end up in the ruins of New York? How can he see this? Ha ha, that's the trick. And you take this man and you force him to look through a fabric in the universe. You force him to see the wonder of this galaxy we live in. Einstein said, you know, God doesn't play dice with the universe. Doesn't mean that we understand it all.

David Temple (26:25.645)

David Temple (26:45.976)

Terry Hayes (26:49.178)
We understand nothing. And that is his journey. He follows his intuition. He ends up in the ruins of New York and I'm not giving anything away because if I didn't end the story like this, you would all kill me. He saves the life of his wife. And he, doing that, he brings something of enormous benefit to the world. He stops a cataclysmic event.

David Temple (27:06.296)

Terry Hayes (27:19.054)
Hey, it was risky. Am I glad I did it? I don't know. I'll tell you in another few months, but I thought it was sort of neat.

David Temple (27:28.567)
All right, couple of things. It's so funny and my hand to God, I mean this, that scene that you described at the canyon is my favorite scene in the whole book. Leading up to it, I was like, bum, where's this going? And then when you reveal that he just knew not to go and the things that revolve around that and what we learn later, that is worth the.

Terry Hayes (27:40.538)
Mine too.

David Temple (27:57.051)
price of admission right there. And that's, I don't know, halfway or so. That's number one. Number two, that way that you did the ending where I said, what the freak part four does take you, does require you to step outside your mind for just a moment. But there's two things I wanna walk away with. One is one of my, two of my favorite movies ever of recent, and you mentioned the writer director earlier is Inception.

Terry Hayes (28:26.73)
Oh yeah, of course.

David Temple (28:27.351)
and the other is interstellar. And when I read part of the fourth segment, I was reminded of interstellar. And then it reminds you of what physics, et cetera, is all about and bending time. And so A, it's fascinating to me. And B, I wanna ask you, can we take 20 seconds and drill down on that? What are your thoughts about that? And did you have that?

Terry Hayes (28:43.132)

David Temple (28:55.967)
influence in your mind when you wrote that.

Terry Hayes (28:58.55)
Yes, yes, I had the influence in my mind, not so much. God forbid that I steal from Chris Nolan, no.

David Temple (29:05.163)
Oh, and I'm just talking about the metaphysics or the physics of... Yeah.

Terry Hayes (29:08.462)
Yes, yeah, absolutely. Because, you know, you walk out into the Australian Outback, and I made some movies out there, and there's no ambient light. There's no dust in the sky. There's no pollution. And you can touch the Milky Way. I swear to God, you can raise your finger and you can touch the Milky Way. A few experiences like that.

and you start to realize that we are in an incredible place in our lives. And that's always influenced me. And I've always been conscious that the wonder is what we don't understand. That we're on this journey and gaining knowledge and trying to comprehend something that is ultimately, I believe, incomprehensible.

David Temple (29:45.22)

Terry Hayes (30:04.058)
So yes, that's very, very much an interest of mine. But as a storyteller, films like Inception, Chris Nolan's work, a lot of stuff on streamers, the way that movies are going is changing the whole nature of narrative storytelling. Most books, most books are very conservative and they don't take creative leaps, not because their authors are not capable of it.

David Temple (30:23.163)

Terry Hayes (30:33.69)
but because they perceive what the public wants. That doesn't operate in movies. I walk in to stuff that my, I've got two teenage boys, I've got two girls who are a couple of years older, but the boys are always watching movies, which I don't think are that good often. But I walk in and I say, what the hell is happening now? They say, well, what do you mean? I say, how did they get from there to there? They say, who cares? We believe that they did.

We make that narrative leap. And books don't do that very much. And that is why books are finding it very, very difficult to pick up younger readers, because they are working to a different narrative structure to people who grew up with Jane Austen or Wuthering Heights and, you know, a whole tradition. Even, you know, F. Scott or Hemingway, it's all changed.

with my youngest son who's 16, Red Locust. Now, okay, I'm his dad and he doesn't hate me too much. I said to him, what you think? He says, really great dad, so we can ignore that part. And I said, okay, that's really good, what do you mean? He said, well, I'll tell you, he reads a lot and he sees a lot of movies, all my kids do, read and watch movies. So I said, well, what do you mean that it's great? He said, well, most books I read are in black and white.

David Temple (31:37.807)

Terry Hayes (32:00.782)
I said, Oh, yeah. He said Locust is in Technicolor. I said, I'll take that any day. I'll take that any day of the week. I was speaking to a 16 year old and I said, what do you think about the twist in part four? He said, well, so what? He said, yeah, okay, that's what stories do. He said, I just didn't know how you were going to wrap it up. Thank God I didn't.

David Temple (32:04.48)
Oh yeah...

David Temple (32:28.575)
Yeah. All right. Couple things. I did do a little drilling down. First of all, folks, when we go to wrap this show, you're going to find out I can't find a website on this character. So we'll talk about that in a minute. But I did go down the rabbit hole of reviews. And I want to know in a second your opinion on that.

But I hit Amazon, there's like 4,300 ratings already and like mostly four star, almost, it's four star average. And then I go to over to Goodreads and there's 5,200 ratings and like 620 reviews with an average of like three and a half out of five. And so I'm like, wait, what? And so there's a couple of things going on. I'm like, well, and I started reading them, Terry, because I had the extra time, not really. And I was reading away and I heard these people.

with the bad stars, because I like to know what's the negative stars, right? I know you probably don't care, but I'm going to get to that in a second. And I'm reading some of these and like, well, you lost me here. And that was preposterous. And I stopped and I thought, and I'm yelling at the screen because I'm an idiot like that. And I'm like, what the frick do you think that escapism and reading to read in a whole different world is all about, you clown? Sorry, that's a little bit of my soapbox in your defense. So.

Terry Hayes (33:39.078)

David Temple (33:43.643)
Do you ever read your reviews? Good. Smart.

Terry Hayes (33:45.21)
No, no, I read them for Pilgrim because I wanted to know. Sometimes they come to my attention, the kids, and print and TV radio reviews, yes, they're sent to me. I don't read them on Amazon, All Good Reads anymore. As I mentioned, I've got four kids. I'm used to being called a moron by people I actually like.

You don't learn much from people telling you you're a genius. People think that you're a moron. Well, okay, don't buy the book, don't read the book. I mean, look, honest to God, this is not cancer research. I have not invaded Ukraine. I am not fighting in Gaza. I'm telling a story. Maybe you like the story, maybe you don't like the story. I gave it my best shot. I think it needed to be very bold.

David Temple (34:17.624)
Yeah, no.

David Temple (34:27.501)



Terry Hayes (34:43.458)
I did not want to repeat what I'd done in Pilgrim. I have to write Pilgrim 2, and that will be in a much more different narrative style. And so I took a risk. So what? So did Picasso. So did Beatles. You know? I mean, so did Elvis. I can think of five million examples in the creative arts of people who did something that did not exist before.

And we're all thankful that they did. They didn't get it all right. I mean, not every Shakespeare play is good, but there were enough that were good that it all becomes interesting. So the review, look, there's a different type of reader on Goodreads. They feel very proprietary to the published work. On Amazon, it's much more people, well, I'm looking for something to read and this has done the job. It's very, very different. And I will guarantee this.

David Temple (35:23.563)
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

David Temple (35:34.201)

Terry Hayes (35:37.39)
As the months and years go by, the Goodreads ratings will go up and up and up because it will be less those who think that they are experts on narrative storytelling. That's what Goodreads attracts. Amazon does not. So it is what it is, you know. And look, if people are arguing about it, right, fantastic, I want them to argue.

David Temple (35:59.927)

David Temple (36:05.023)
You said something earlier and I think it's one of the best comments you made and I'm going to expand on a little bit and that is this. This show is now coming up on three years old. I'm a hundred and six, you'll be 166 episodes when I hit. I've got 25 years. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I mean I love what I do. I love talking to guys like you. I love reading. I love writing books myself and

Terry Hayes (36:19.986)

David Temple (36:30.115)
But I have found and I'm going to piss off some people when I say that. So just go ahead and here comes the email. But it's this, and I said this to my wife over dinner the other night. I'm like, there's a couple of things I've said. Terry has. And I mean this in all sincerity. He has rewired something in my brain now. And I said, I'm going to tell you this, Tammy, if I were to quit this show today,

The Year of the Locust is the book that I want to be the last book I read for a show.

Terry Hayes (37:03.506)

David Temple (37:05.059)
Here's why. It is so thoroughly unique, engaging, genre-bending, metaphysically enhancing, mind-altering in some ways and still profoundly entertaining. I mean, there's Le Carre. I mean, there's all kinds of influences I could take off on. But it's the fact...

That it is so outside the boundaries of what everything and everybody is doing. And I'm going to say, this is the part that's going to piss people off. People are writing the same story over and over.

Terry Hayes (37:30.353)

Terry Hayes (37:39.722)
Are they ever are they ever

David Temple (37:42.283)
And I know that's not popular, Terry, and I don't really care. But I'm reading the same story, just new names. And when I read this, I'm like, different and awesome.

Terry Hayes (37:53.986)
Yeah, I, well, thank you very much for that. I, you know, I agree with you. The spy thriller genre, it can be pretty dusty. It can be pretty rote, you know, frequently you don't have characters, you just have people with jobs. And that's a big difference. It's not pushing out there, like what we would think of more as.

high level literature does. And it pushes out there and leaves everybody behind. You can't follow it half the time, but okay. They try. They're on a wavelength and they decide to follow it. Well, I'm in a different category. Obviously I write in commercial terms. I mean, I write commercial literature or novels, but I love that. I love that.

David Temple (38:23.972)

Terry Hayes (38:51.362)
If I want to engage the reader, I have to engage myself first. And like you, I'm very widely read, really widely read. And I get really bored because I can anticipate, it's 300 page novel, 50 pages in, I know what's gonna happen. Not because I'm so clever, but because I've read it all before. And that is true in movies. Look.

David Temple (39:05.048)

David Temple (39:12.334)

David Temple (39:16.142)

Terry Hayes (39:20.434)
Oppenheimer is a fairly conventional story told in the most unconventional way. If you take Napoleon, and Ridley Scott's a brilliant director, if you take Napoleon, that's a very conventional story told in a very conventional way. It's brilliantly directed, but narratively, the audience is five miles in front of it. They know what's going to happen. And that, Barbie, I had no idea what was going on.

David Temple (39:31.984)

David Temple (39:37.499)

David Temple (39:43.651)

Terry Hayes (39:48.538)
I'm not sure I cared that much, but my kids did, but it was bold. It took you in a direction, told a story in a way that you never anticipated. The spy thriller genre does not do that. And that, so my job was to take you on that journey, set it up with things like gunfire from the future and visions of his wife and that, so that you're not completely unprepared, and then bring you back.

David Temple (39:59.035)

Terry Hayes (40:18.998)
and say, he went out to the outer edges of the universe and our understanding. And he came back with something very valuable, information. Now, will he be able to fulfill his destiny? And there's a guy that never believed in destiny. Look, there's a wonderful story told by a shaman from one of the great.

David Temple (40:31.887)

Terry Hayes (40:47.882)
Native American tribes and I can't remember who it was and forgive me for that. But the shaman went on that journey, that mystical journey, and he met the voice of the soul of the universe and he brought it back to his people. And the message was simply this, be not afraid. Be not afraid of life. Existence of this vast unknowing thing all around us.

David Temple (41:07.791)

Terry Hayes (41:17.19)
goes out and undergoes some sort of strange experience. And he comes back and he's not afraid. Found the courage and the wherewithal and the information that he needs to go into the most dangerous place on earth and kill a man. And he does.

David Temple (41:26.26)

David Temple (41:38.152)
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Well, a few books at 800 pages nearly that I did not want to end. And I read more people shouting the praises of I am pilgrim. And please forgive me. I have not read it yet. But now having discovered you. I'm going to have to read it.

Terry Hayes (41:56.895)

David Temple (41:58.751)
Especially now that I know that Pilgrim 2 is on the way.

Terry Hayes (42:01.078)
Yes, yes, yes. Now about Pilgram, I think, you know, I have a lot of distance from it now. And I would write a different book if I was writing it today. But I do think it's a good book. I think it's a good book because it treated the reader with great respect. It was done to a reasonable degree of intelligence. And that

people often say to me, well, who really wrote it? Because clearly I couldn't have. But more importantly, it treated the characters with great respect. And so you have a very bad man, or a person that's trying to do something very bad, recreate the smallpox virus. But he is so well motivated, that by the time you get to the end of the book and the confrontation between these two men, it takes 700 pages for them to meet each other.

David Temple (42:31.779)

David Temple (42:50.264)

Terry Hayes (42:58.042)
you're not quite sure how you want this to end. Mentally, you know that we can't have smallpox let loose in the world. Emotionally, it's heartbreaking that the bad guy had to go on the journey he did. And I won't spoil it for you as to why he went on that journey. But so I think it was run to an unusual order for spy thrillers, which had become well,

David Temple (43:15.746)

Terry Hayes (43:26.722)
Man walks out of a house, kicks the dog half to death, gets in his car, picks up his ax, and then goes around, and everybody's saying, oh, that's a bad guy. Well, great. Steven Spielberg says an interesting thing. He says in movies, there are no bad people. There are just people with a bad function. You've gotta find the motivation. You've gotta find what opened that wound, generally in their childhood or whatever.

David Temple (43:47.095)

Terry Hayes (43:56.582)
So that's what I did. I did it in Locust. I would do it in every book I ever write. I want to treat my characters with respect.

David Temple (44:06.623)
I love that and everyone in this book felt respected in some form or fashion. And the thing that has burned a hole in the back of my cortex is, do you think, or how close do you think that this book is to reality in a certain particular foreign influences who don't?

like America. We'll just use that as a nice easy canopy or umbrella without getting specifics, but there is a certain regime of people who don't like us and there are bad decisions being made with evil at bay that is hanging around us at all time and I don't think your average bear even really thinks about it. How close do you think all that is?

Terry Hayes (44:38.65)

Terry Hayes (44:53.694)
I think it's very, very true. I think that in the Middle East in particular, but not just restricted to there, in deprived communities throughout Europe, there's a great feeling of anger towards America. And how America is seen, I think, is that it's seen as the far enemy that funds a lot of near enemies.

And you don't have to look any farther than Saudi Arabia. There are lots of dissident Saudi people who know that regime would fall if A, it were not so oppressive, and B, if it didn't have the tacit support of the US government. Now we're seeing a shocking situation in Gaza at the moment and God knows where the rights are wrongs of that lie. I'm not qualified to judge that, but I will tell you one thing.

David Temple (45:25.368)

Terry Hayes (45:49.634)
I will promise you absolutely one thing, that in Gaza, there are now two to three new generations of terrorists waiting in the wings. And I think anybody, any fair-minded person would say that if you're in hospital with your wife and kids and you got bombed and managed to survive, you might be looking at some extreme measures, whether it's against Israel or against...

any country seen as supporting Israel, and that includes Australia, you'd let the genie out of the bottle. I mean, and this has been going on for generations. I cannot see any solution. I mean, the political scientists tell us all the time, every war ends in negotiations, every war. Even the Japanese had to.

David Temple (46:31.501)

Terry Hayes (46:46.894)
when negotiating with the Americans after Hiroshima. The problem that we have is nobody's even talking, let alone negotiating. I don't know how you talk to half of these people, not because they're so dumb, but because we don't even know who they are. I mean, Clinton said, you know, oh, was of the view that Osama bin Laden was just this idiot living in the cave in the May cave 47. Well, nobody took any...

David Temple (47:03.877)

Terry Hayes (47:16.262)
time to talk to him, there were never gonna be any negotiations. They don't want to talk and half the time we don't even know who to talk to. So I'm very, very pessimistic about this being resolved in my children's lifetimes, not just Gaza. I'm just saying this position in which America finds itself and you know, and it's a tragedy. It is really a tragedy because there are so many great things about America.

David Temple (47:45.133)

Terry Hayes (47:45.686)
lived there for a long time, my wife is American. And, you know, I come at it not as an American, I don't have any dog in that fight. But I am wise enough to know what good there is. Don't talk to people in certain groups, both in Europe or in the Middle East about that.

David Temple (47:53.42)

David Temple (48:05.867)
No, and I don't want to spend any more time on it. I mean, so on a positive note, I've got a great read in my hand. I do want to, since we're running out of time, I want to end on something that I tend to wrap every show with and it's, I like to speak to authors like yourself. So many writers, aspiring writers, listen to the show. And I like to finish with what's your best piece of writing advice. If you could tell someone who wants to make a career out of this.

Terry Hayes (48:20.614)

Terry Hayes (48:35.382)
Exercise, exercise, it's a sedentary job. It is, it's an important job. It can be incredibly rewarding. It's not worth dying for. It really isn't. You gotta get up and move. And you know, look, I get stuck into it at, you know, eight o'clock in the morning, often don't go to bed till, you know, 11 o'clock at night. And it's an unhealthy lifestyle.

I don't smoke cigarettes anymore. Although God knows it's not a day go by and it's been 25 years that I wouldn't like a cigarette. I can tell you that. I don't drink alcohol. I only have two cups of coffee a day. You gotta be tuned up. And I mean, I've been partly facetious, but it's a very engaging, very harrowing thing to go through these experiences with all these characters. You gotta keep yourself.

David Temple (49:21.668)

Terry Hayes (49:33.986)
alive for God's sake, you know, and that so that on one level. The other my other piece of advice would be to read a book by a guy called Lejos Engley, E G R I and it's called the art of creative writing, or the art of dramatic writing. He wrote two books. Now I can't remember what's in what, but

David Temple (49:36.559)

Terry Hayes (49:59.898)
They're dreadful books, he's dead, so I can say this. They are dreadful books. So everybody can criticize me, except for one thing. He understands that in order to write, either for movies or for novels and that, you need conflict. If you don't have conflict, then you're going nowhere. You're writing a diary. Good on you.

David Temple (50:27.215)
Ha ha.

Terry Hayes (50:27.97)
You know, that's great. Put all your thoughts down and they're very wise, I'm sure, and quite brilliant. But have somebody come in and say that is terrible. Now argue, have a conflict. You're looking for people that can find an argument in an empty room. That's the type of characters you want. And so without conflict, you cannot move the story ahead. So that to me is the core of writing movies.

And if you were to look at Locust or Pilgrim, you would be, perhaps you would see that in every chapter, somebody is trying to stop somebody from doing something. And greatest event, dramatic event in the world is the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Why? It's in a confined space. You have two men in absolute conflict and only one will emerge the winner.

David Temple (51:08.355)
I'm out.

Terry Hayes (51:27.142)
The better the contestants are, the better the fight. Do you wanna see Muhammad Ali fight Joe Frazier, the Thriller in Manila or whatever it was, or do you wanna see Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston or whoever it was take a dive in the second? No, you wanna see the great contest. That's what I try to do. I don't know if it works, but I try.

David Temple (51:42.52)

David Temple (51:48.783)

Exercise and conflict. That is the key. That is fantastic. And you're so right. You, uh, I have a very large chiropractic bill to prove it. When you're, when you're hunched over a keyboard all day and cranking your neck and doing this with your fingers, no bueno.

Terry Hayes (51:53.721)
You bet.

Terry Hayes (52:04.459)

Terry Hayes (52:10.97)
No, absolutely, and it's not worth it. I mean, I swear to God, you know, I've had some success, I mean, both in movies and novels, and I'm really grateful for that. I wanna be alive to see it. I don't wanna be gasping on the floor having had a heart attack prematurely, you know, so get up and move around, please.

David Temple (52:35.203)
Yeah. Well, Terry, where can people learn more about you? I've done a pretty fair amount of digging down. Of course, most of my information came from my good friend David Brown up at the director of publicity at Atria Books and Emily Besser Books. But no website. And you don't do social media, do you? No. So where can I go besides Wikipedia?

Terry Hayes (52:53.754)

Terry Hayes (52:59.286)
You can read my novels. You can read my novels. That's my heart and soul. My problem is that I'm a perfectionist by nature and if I was on X or Twitter as it used to be and I had 140 characters, I'd be commenting on the 2016 election probably tomorrow. It would take me eight years.

David Temple (53:01.057)
Oh god!

David Temple (53:05.359)

David Temple (53:24.751)

Terry Hayes (53:26.918)
to craft 140 characters into something that I thought was worthy of it. So if you have a website or a blog, my duty is to make it really good, but I don't have the time. And also, you know, I'm not important. There's a great saying, there's two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wanna be famous, and there are those who want their work to be famous.

David Temple (53:41.268)

Terry Hayes (53:56.802)
I would like my work to be famous. I have spent more time with Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, lots of movie stars, who's friendship and relationships I cherish. I wouldn't want that world, that life for anything on earth, nothing. I lead a very private life. I have a wonderful life with my wife and kids. We are gypsies. We move cities, countries every couple of years. But...

David Temple (53:58.555)

Terry Hayes (54:26.958)
That's my life. And my public life is talking to you and doing interviews and doing many, many other things and writing novels that people I hope will say, you know, he's a pretty good man. His values are pretty good. I'm sure there are people who say, yeah, his values are pretty good, but he's really dumb. Okay, that's great. But that's my life with my family.

David Temple (54:28.556)
I love it.

Terry Hayes (54:56.482)
I had to be very protective of my children. And I write about terrorism and that can be, you've got to keep the pin in that grenade. So I try to lead a very normal life. When we first found out my wife was pregnant, we had children much later in my life. My wife is American. I met her on the Paramount Walk. And we were in Paris, Christmas Eve, and we found out she was pregnant.

David Temple (55:08.123)

David Temple (55:26.159)

Terry Hayes (55:26.686)
And we were shocked. We never thought we would ever have children. We'd been told we wouldn't have children. And without any medical intervention, she was pregnant. Well, it was a shocking moment. So we're walking down the Champs-Élysées. We head off and we end up at the Eiffel Tower. And I said to her, well, what are we gonna do? Where are we gonna live? We're in Paris to look for an apartment to live, because we could live anywhere. I was just a writer, you know. And that's so, she said, well, I'll tell you one thing.

David Temple (55:37.509)

Terry Hayes (55:56.918)
I will promise you one thing. I said, what's that? She said, we are not bringing our children up in Los Angeles. I said, yeah. And she said, no, you're in the movie business. They're gonna have a normal upbringing. They are not going to get worried about whether some famous movie star's son or daughter is not being nice to them, or can we go to this party, or dad was on the red carpet.

David Temple (56:11.963)
Good for her.

David Temple (56:21.934)

Terry Hayes (56:27.274)
And she was right. And we never did. We brought them up in Switzerland, firstly, and then Australia, well, not Australia so much, but in Switzerland, I lived in complete anonymity. And that is a very valuable thing, very valuable. And a lot of people don't understand that. But I'd seen both sides of the coin. I'd been in the movies. I'd been chased across Green Park in London with Mel Gibson at the very end.

David Temple (56:40.292)

David Temple (56:54.363)
Thanks for watching!

Terry Hayes (56:56.851)
I played pool with Tom Cruise and Nicole down on a bar down the Lower East Side and then I had to call the cops because there was no way that these 3,000 people out the front of the bar were going to move. It's crazy time. I'd seen all that and I was never going to be like that but I didn't want my kids to be. I wanted them to grow to their own light and they did.

David Temple (57:12.159)
Yeah, it is, isn't it?

David Temple (57:23.991)
Well, as I told my wife the other day, I said, I, I'm so honored to be able to, I said, if I didn't have this podcast, I probably would never have the chance to meet you. Our paths would probably never cross. So I'm, I'm honored to have had this time, not only because I mean, I'm just, I'm honored to meet you and to read this book and to, uh, you're just a wonderful human being and so, so talented.

Terry Hayes (57:48.73)
I don't know about that. But thank you. And thank you for the time, obviously for the praise, as I said, it's a nerve wracking time. And thank you for making it so interesting. And we managed to avoid the, did you ever date Nicole Kidman? Do you think Mel Gibson has psychological issues? We've managed not to go near that, which I am deeply grateful for because there's many.

David Temple (58:04.7)

David Temple (58:11.909)

Terry Hayes (58:15.398)
far more interesting things to talk about. And you touched on so many of them. So it's been an enormous pleasure and I'm happy to do it anytime. You know how to contact me. You won't contact me through Facebook or Instagram and I'm not doing stupid videos on TikTok, but I'm always here. It's been an absolute delight. And thank you so much.

David Temple (58:39.835)
Thank you, Terry.