From Sydney, Australia, Bret McIvor’s fascination with the colorful, sometimes dodgy nuances of the motor trade was born fresh out of college when he sold and financed them. He soon realized the biz wasn’t for him and he went into the Australian stock market, where he traded on the floor of the Sydney Stock Exchange.
Throughout the ‘90s to today, Bret is involved in technology, the Australian military and foreign policy, and entertainment. He calls Dallas, Texas home, and splits his time between the U.S., Hong Kong, and the South Pacific.
A graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Business, Bret also attended the University of London, Kings College, specializing in Corporate and Intellectual Property law, and foreign (APAC) policy.
Military school upbringing, his passion is wargame strategy. Watch for his new action thriller, Line of Succession.
He can be contacted at: email@example.com
“People are always asking me questions I don’t have answers for,” he said in a recent interview*. “One is, ‘When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?’ The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even as a young man. When I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie director or an airline pilot. When I turned twenty, I wanted freedom, so I traveled. It’s a different story today. I get a rush telling stories, and writing takes up much of my spare time.”
When asked about this book: “The car business is a bloody good, juicy topic to get your mitts around [he chuckled]. And, the book’s accurate. I went to great pains to ensure its accuracy.
Hey, not all car dealers are villains. There’ve been some greats. Still are today. But, it’s the shady operators we remember that make such good news.
In looking back, to put together such a truthful expose took some balls. I mean, the tricks of the motor trade -- hiding cars when the floorplan checkers come-a-knockin’, stealing their own inventory to cover gambling losses and an exorbitant lifestyle, salesmen taught to chuck keys up on the roof just to keep you from leaving, the rampant drug use and how low they’d go just to shove someone in a car. You gotta laugh! But then, there’s the serious side, too. Like the dangerous mafia element that exists today in Australia -- the Tongs, Triads, Italians, the Greeks, the Lebs, and the price paid when the line is crossed. Imagine the likes of Tony Soprano from the Sopranos a big time player in the Sydney car biz and you will have this book, I kid you not!
I also had to take a stab at the coppers. God, they’re a protected lot and just as bad -- the corruption, the lofty ‘backhanders’ they’re paid just to look the other way while an untrusting hand rests on a holstered Glock. As I researched more, I needed to get something in about horseracing, just because it’s something so dear to all Australians and a magnet for highflyers like car dealers -- the racefixing, the horse-doping, jockeys kicking each other off the saddle during a race, the money laundering.
A few days before the final draft was finished, I remember having a high degree of hesitancy over sending the manuscript to the printer. But, when I emailed off chapters to insiders I knew who remembered the dark days, they all came back with, ‘No bloody way, mate! Go for it! This stuff’s fresh and needs to be told.’ So, I did. The rest is history. I’m bound to get some flack for it after release day, but, well, I can duck!
The book and what it represents, which is a pretty dark, sinister chapter in Sydney business, is pretty timely. Hell, you only have to pick up an Aussie newspaper and you’ll see yet another Royal Commission has been set up to investigate corruption within the police force or parliament. Very frequent stuff.
You know, I’m damned proud of what my editors and I accomplished. It took three years... the frustration, nights without sleep... making sure there’s conflict or passion in everything written. But, now it’s done. Thank God! It’s a straight forward, no holds barred look into one of the most cutthroat, murderous games in the world. Those in the ‘know’ should recognize the big name personalities I’ve shrouded under fake names. I couldn’t use real names for obvious reasons. I like my kneecaps. But, what I wrote, it all happened.”
Asked about a movie: “Parramatta Road is more than just a book. It’s a franchise; an institution. The oldest road in Australia. Twenty miles of history. Car yards on every corner. Hell, everyone in the southern hemisphere knows that monster highway! That’s why I trademarked the name.
We can go many ways with this. Yes, my agent’s been in touch with some interested parties down in Sydney. But, I’m a realist and know that any decision is some time off. I want it done right. And, I want a decision in how this franchise turns out. The screenplay is written, and I’ve put together a shortlist of A+ actors and production people I would like to see involved. There’s a chance for a mini-series, and the second book of short stories I’m writing now could easily fill the first season. But, to your question about a movie. Yes, the story would portray powerfully on the silver screen. What’s unique here is that, in the past, only comedies have been written about the car business. This tells another side; a darker side, tainted in greed and corruption.
I’m confident Americans and Aussies will flock to the theaters when it is released. Americans especially. Whatever events happen ‘down-under,’ Americans are naturally curious. How successful it becomes rides on how close to the book the director and backers want to take it. I hope it’s spot on! I mean, a story based in Australia, written by an Australian, about Australians. Hell, who wouldn’t want to see it!”
* Dallas Observer - May, 2006
Click on the book covers for excerpts
Interviewed by The Dallas Observer - May, 2006