Happy Book Day – Drowning in the Shallows

Drowning in the Shallows is an hilarious new adult comedy written by Dan Kaufman and published by Melbourne Books.
ABOUT DROWNING IN SHALLOWS
David’s journalism students petrify him. Then again, so does his cat.
His girlfriend broke up with him, he writes about bars for a shrinking newspaper that’s abandoned news reporting for lifestyle articles, and he’s desperately searching for meaning amongst the backdrop of Sydney’s shallow social scene.
Then he meets a young woman who just might be the answer. The only problem is, she’s a friend of one of his students.
Drowning in the Shallows is a comedy about heartache, a satire of Sydney society, a coming-of-age tale about a man in his 30s who is only now growing up, and a love story about a man and his beloved evil cat.
WHERE THE INSPIRATION CAME FROM
The setting and background details all came straight from my own life: from the main character’s job (he’s a journo and I used to be one too) right through to the world he used to inhabit (Sydney bars and social parties).
However, on a deeper level I was inspired by the men I knew who would have good intentions and genuinely not wish anyone any harm – but who would also often act in a sleazy way and not even realise it. I was struck by how I saw them act and how the women in their lives saw them completely differently.
I wanted to parody and ridicule male behaviour (including my own when I was younger) to show how it comes about and to make men rethink the way they behave. The best way I can put this is that if I had read this novel when I was younger, I’d like to think it would have changed the way I had acted – and thought.
DAN’S WRITING TIPS
1) Write about what you know. In my case, I used to be a journo for the Sydney Morning Herald who had to write about Sydney’s nightlife at one point – and it was such a ridiculous world that I thought it would be the perfect backdrop for a book about a heartbroken child man who needs to grow up.
2) Embrace rejection. I received countless rejections – and I mean thousands, not hundreds – before this book was picked up by a local publisher.
3) If in doubt, cut it out. I originally wrote my novel many years ago, but after a few years I reread it and thought that half of it was crap. As such, I took a deep breath, cut everything that didn’t make me laugh, think or that didn’t move the novel along briskly – and reworked the book. It was a tough decision, but I am so glad I made it.
4) Be true to yourself and write what you’re passionate about. I know this sounds like a hippy thing to say – but if your writing isn’t authentic, then it’s not going to work. People might love or hate my book – but at least I wrote what I truly wanted to, rather than what I thought would sell, even though some people told me there’d be no market for my book.
5) Fall in love with your characters. Your characters have to be complete, living breathing beings who are so real to you tha tyou would instantly know what they would say or do in any given situation. If not, then you need to develop them further.
WHERE TO FIND DAN ONLINE
WHERE TO BUY DROWNING IN THE SHALLOWS
Book purchase link:
Readers can order the book direct from the publisher (and read the first three chapters for free) at: https://www.melbournebooks.com.au/products/drowning-in-the-shallows-preview