A lot has been written about the German occupation of France and the French Resistance. But what Belinda Aleandra was interested in what happened after the Germans left, and the French people who had collaborated and those who resisted had to face each other. She also wanted to bring the story home. Australia was relatively untouched by war, compared to Europe, but one million servicemen and women had participated in the armed services in some way and their lives were never the same.
The Interpreter, Brooke Robinson’s debut novel, explores the power of language to bring – or avoid – justice. Its protagonist, Revelle Lee, is a court interpreter in London. She’s supposed to be impartial, in order to change the course of a trial she intentionally mistranslates a couple of words. The result is a compelling, twisty thriller.
Part of the reason Rae Cairns writes, alongside an absolute love of storytelling, is to try to understand why people do what they do. She is particularly intrigued by the complexity of relationships, especially within family units, and the power of the need to belong. She is driven by the idea of exploring the female ‘hero’.
Joan Sauers drew on her experience as a screenwiter for her debut crime novel, Echo Lake. She initially imagined the characters, setting and story in visuals, and while she was writing she looked around what might be on screen in her mind’s eye and described what she saw. She was also aware of rhythm and pace.
Regional NSW author, Sarah Barrie, spoke to Maggie Baron for the April Author Spotlight, about what motivated her to write about child abuse and how she copes mentally and emotionally with such confronting material. The idea for Lexi came about while she was struggling with an admission from a very close friend of mine that she had been abused as a child.
Eleven-year-old Stefanie Hinrichs came to Australia looking for paradise –and found herself trapped in the marriage from hell. In The Messiah’s Bride (Viking/Penguin, 2023), investigative journalist Megan Norris unravels the story of Stefanie’s lost childhood, her courageous escape with the messiah’s child, and how she eventually brought the cult down. Megan outlined what happened to Robyn Walton for Sisters in Crime Australia.
Suzanne Frankham, author of Shadow Over Edmund Street (Journeys to Words Publishing), told Maggie Baron that the collision of the past and present pushes her story into the thriller genre and towards its ultimate climax. The story is set in Ponsonby, a Victorian-era neighbourhood, close to the city centre, and the harbour in Auckland, where Suzanne grew up.
What are the joys and challenges of writing YA mysteries? Robyn Walton spoke to and long-time member, Joanna Baker, about her latest YA novel, Evermore (Soren Press, 2022) for Sisters in Crime’s December Author Spotlight. Joanna spends her time between north-west Victoria and Hobart where she grew up.
Melbourne author, Louise Bassett, spoke about her debut novel, The Hidden Girl (Walker Books Australia) with Maggie Baron for November’s Author Spotlight. She says young adults often have a strong sense of justice so this makes them a great readership for crime fiction. They are also challenge you as a writer—you have to keep your story engaging because there are so many things competing for young adults’ attention.
Best-selling UK author, Lisa Jewell, doesn’t usually write sequels. But, from the day her 2019 novel The Family Upstairs was published, her social media inboxes filled up with messages from readers begging her for a sequel. She told them no, at first, but then, began to think maybe it could be fun. The result is The Family Remains.