blog 37: In which I reveal twelve shocking secrets about DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL!

First up, if you haven’t actually read my book Don’t Call Me Ishmael! then I wouldn’t bother reading this post. I would however seriously suggest that you take a LONG HARD LOOK AT YOURSELF and stop frittering away your life on other less worthy pursuits!Be that as it may, what follows are some never before revealed, and possibly disturbing, insights into the book.

1. Ishmael’s birthdate is revealed in Chapter 3 as being August 1st. This means he shares a birthday with Herman Melville author of Moby Dick.

2. On the front cover of the original Australian edition just above Ringo’s head, there are some stylised initials scratched into the desk. They are J.T.B. for Joseph Thomas Bauer – my son who was the cover designer. (Not visible in the image below because Joe photo-shopped it in later.)

3. A banana skin is visible at the top left-hand corner of the back cover of the original Australian edition. It ended up there because Joe had a banana for morning tea while he was putting the cover design together for the photo.

One of Joe's photos that was cropped and adjusted slightly for the cover of the original Australian edition of Don't Call Me Ishmael.

4. When Ishmael writes his list of Five Amazing Facts About Me, Number 4 is “When I was an altar boy in Year Four I used to faint during the Service.” He stole that one straight from me!

5. Kelly Faulkner is named in honour of the American writer William Faulkner whom I studied a lot at University. For a while there, I thought of naming more characters after literary heroes but decided against it.

6. Even though James Scobie is perhaps one of the most unusual boys in the book, he is the only one who was based, at least initially, on someone I’d really taught.

7. In the US version of DCM Ishmael the Rugby match has been changed into an American Football (Gridiron) match, even though the story is still based in Australia. Weird!

8. When Ishmael’s dad says philosophically in Chapter 38, “Don’t ever think you’ve got away with anything or got something for nothing – because the bill always comes,” he is quoting one of the characters in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun also Rises.

9. St Daniels has a row of six playing fields “imaginatively referred to as ‘The Fields’.” This is because St Daniels is based on Marist Brothers Ashgrove and they have similar fields imaginatively referred to as “The Flats”.

10. Miss Tarango’s surname is a combination of Tango (the dance) and Tarago (the car) because she’s such a passionate, energetic and revved-up teacher.

11. In my early planning of the storyline of DCM Ishmael, one of the characters was going to die.

12. Kelly Faulkner’s phone number is given at the end of the book as 4060 8699. This is made up of the postcode for Ashgrove where I grew up (4060) and the secret agent numbers of Maxwell Smart (86) and his partner Ninety-Nine (99 – obviously!)

So there you go. Of course I haven’t revealed ALL the secrets of DCM Ishmael because let’s face it, some of them are just far too explosive to share. But stay tuned for more shocking secrets from the sequels!!!


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6 Responses to blog 37: In which I reveal twelve shocking secrets about DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL!

  1. Your son did a great job with the cover design. I like it even more than the german one although I’m a fan of Peter Schössows illustrations.


  2. more, more, more,… Ishmael is like a good friend of my school-days (and my first steps as a teacher) – and i never wants to know, who perhaps die or not – all characters are immortel (excuse my englisch, i’m a poor german!) Stefan


  3. There’s more?! Brilliant. Concerned over who would have died…not the obvious, obviously or was it…? Keep em coming Michael.


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