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.
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz is narrated by a young dead woman in New York. The book has won an amazing two Davitt Awards – for Best Debut and Readers’ Choice, as judged by the 500+ members of Sisters in Crime. Jacqueline splits her time between Melbourne and New Zealand and, luckily for us, crossed the ditch to accept the awards.
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.