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Author Q&A with Justin Smith

Justin Smith is an incredibly talented Australian journalist, broadcaster, and author. In his award-winning career, Justin has hosted national programs, embedded with Australian troops in Afghanistan, and was the Drive host on Sydney’s 2UE. Currently, he works as a columnist with the Melbourne Herald Sun and is a weekly guest on Sky News and Channel Seven’s Sunrise. This month, his new fiction title “Cooper Not Out” hit the shelves. 


This story surrounds Sergeant Roy Cooper, a country policeman. Roy has been batting for his local cricket club for decades – where he’s a statistical miracle. He’s overweight, he makes very few runs, but he’s never been dismissed. When local schoolgirl Cassie comes across the story, she takes it to renowned sports columnist Donna Garrett, who is forced to write under the male pseudonym of ‘Don’ to be taken seriously. Now, the people are about to discover that when it comes to sporting miracles, anything is possible.

Exclusively for QBD Books, Justin Smith has taken the time to speak about his new book, writing process, and more:

Hi Justin! What was your inspiration behind “Cooper Not Out”

I love cricket. It’s a game that’s driven by emotion. But I also wanted it to be a story about more than just the game itself. I wanted it to be about friendships, families, and the way things have changed since 1984. Some things are better. Some aren’t. 

What was your writing process like for this title?

I get up early and try to make some good sentences, and hope they lead into paragraphs and pages. It’s the best time of day for my brain — after lunch my mind gets a little mushy. Then in the evening I start thinking about the characters again and where I left them, and what I want to do to them in the morning. I make notes and do some reading for research. I watched a lot of clips from the 1984 season and read us much as I could.

Can you tell us more about the importance of heroes?

We’ve always needed them — and we’ve always gravitated towards them — but I think we’ve forgotten what a real one is. Instead of looking at true character people, we’ve been using things like social media to tell us who the heroes are. And I can’t think of a worse place to look. For me, the real heroes get revealed in the way they treat other people.

Why do you think the “uplit” genre is so popular in these times?

We’ve had a pretty crappy couple of years, so anything that’s going to transport us into better feelings is a good thing. And that’s the storyteller’s job most of the time — to gives us something else to think about. 

Finally, what do you enjoy reading?

I always gravitate writers who can tell you about a place you’ve never been and yet make you feel like you were almost born there. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is my current favourite, and I’m reading his memoir Living to Tell the Tale. 


Below, we have an exclusive extract from the book. Enjoy!


To order “Cooper Not Out” by Justin Smith, you can visit the QBD Books website or your local QBD Books store! 


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