STORIES: John Birmingham and the Dave Hooper Trilogy

John Birmingham is a famed Australian author. His most popular work, “He Died With a Felafel in His Hand” consists of a collection of colourful anecdotes about living in share houses in Brisbane and other cities in Australia with variously dubious housemates. The title refers to a deceased heroin addict found in one such house. The book was subsequently adapted into the longest running stage play in Australian history and, in 2001, was made into a film by Richard Lowenstein, starring Noah Taylor, Emily Hamilton and Sophie Lee.

I’m not sure what first attracted me to his writing, but I recall reading “Felefel” as a young man (the book was released in 1994, when I was 26). Having spent a good few years as a younger fella either broke or close to it most of the time, being a little loose at times and having also experienced the joys of sharing a home with others, the book resonated with me.

So, with me being a JB fan and also being an avid Twitter user (I refuse to call it X, fuck you Elon), I enjoyed following John on that platform. He was funny, witty, and engaged regularly with his fan base. And he followed back! John would often share updates with this Twitter followers about things he was working on, and it was sorta cool to be a part of that creative process from outside, and every time John responded to me on Twitter I got that stupid feeling you sometimes do whenever someone of any note recognises you. Some ridiculous feeling of worth.

Anyway, in January 2011 he Tweeted that he was looking for a name for a side character in a novel he was writing, and I enthusiastically suggested that he choose my name! Imagine my delight when he said “yeah that will do”? How cool!

He said “I” would be “a corrupt cop. In post apocalypse Darwin. Meet Detective Dave Hooper”.

My name was going to be a character in a John Birmingham novel! I was beyond excited. Here’s a bloke I truly admire both as a writer and also as a person, and I’m going into one of his books!

Anyway, I carried on following and engaging for several months, and kept waiting for word that the novel had been released. In November 2011 I reached out “Hey John, remember you were going to use my name as a side character in one of your books, whatever happened with that?”. He replied “I’m just checking now. But you were totally corrupt in Draft Version 3.” and then another Tweet reply “well bugger me! You got gazzumped by some Detective Palmer. Apolz. It happens sometimes between versions.”

I can still recall exactly where I was when I read his reply, I was pretty bummed. I’d been so happy knowing I was going to have my name in a JB novel, but now some other character name had come in instead.

But just as I was contemplating my rotten bad luck he replied again. “I do need a character name for my next series. And yours would fit perfectly. But you have to be a demon fighting fireman”

Hell yeah! I’d much rather be a fireman than a cop, so this was awesome news! Now all I had to do was wait for the book to be released. Fast forward to Christmas 2014 and the books have hit the shops. Yes, books. Not just one, but three books featuring my name as a “demon fighting fireman”. But not just any character, Dave Hooper became the hero character of the “Dave Hooper Trilogy (also known as Dave Vs. The Monsters)”. OMG!

Now look, dear reader. I know it’s a really stupid thing to be proud of having your name used as the title character on a book trilogy. But still, I rate it as one of my all time best stories, and I’m pleased You spent the time reading about it.

The Trilogy has since expanded with the addition of two ebook novellas and an anthology.

The David Hooper Trilogy (also known as Dave Vs. The Monsters)

  • Emergence (2015), ISBN 978-0345539878
  • Resistance (2015), ISBN 978-0345539892
  • Ascendance (2015), ISBN 978-0345539915
  • The Protocol for Monsters (2016), ebook only novella
  • Soul Full of Guns (2016), ebook only novella
  • The Demons of Butte Crack County (2017) (Anthology)

NOTE: I created the @thatdavidhooper Twitter account in 2018. I the started work in Real Estate that same year, and so I kept the account “nice”. Very conservative, rarely sharing much about my true self. By 2011 I had grown tired of hiding so many aspects of my life that I created an alt account, @itsonelouder, and used that new account to post things I couldn’t do on the “nice” one. Rants about Trump, being critical of the LNP, talking about going to see bands and getting shitfaced, that sort of stuff. Things that potential Real Estate clients would look at and judge you on. Both accounts are still active, but I mainly use the @itsonelouder for personal use and keep the other one more professional.