I really wanted to consider how much we can rely on other people, and how self-interest can be a corrupting influence. But there were other things I was wondering about as well and I think those wonderings worked their way into the mysteries in the plot. For instance, living as a colonising people, what should our relationship be to the land that we only claim to own because our ancestors stole it?
I’ve learned to keep going and get the words down, even when I feel under the pump, knowing I can always come back and edit later. And I’ve learned that research can be a rabbit hole! I spent days reading about witness protection in the UK, first-hand accounts of it, legislation, and how it works. It was fascinating though.
The original inspiration for The Scarlet Cross came from my sister, who is an avid crime reader and a former psychiatric nurse. She was the one who suggested a hospital as the setting for a crime novel and I heartily agreed: the caregivers in a hospital are often at the coal face of crime, especially in the emergency department.
The day PETA put their Farm Maps up onto the website and animal activists were trespassing onto farms, I was driving to Perth, listening to the ABC report on this atrocity. I was getting angrier and angrier and my speed was getting faster and faster, the more furious I became! I knew I needed to tell the farmer’s side of the story.
There are two main differences between Italian and Australian women’s crime fiction. In Italian texts, murders are mostly motivated by jealousy or greed, and on the whole, there is less emphasis on family violence and on rape than in Australian fiction. The other noticeable difference is the emphasis on linguistic and cultural identity in the various Italian regions.