Crime writer Leigh Redhead will interrogate three authors at different stages of their careers – Angela Savage, Annie Hauxwell and Melanie Casey – about what makes their sleuths and plots so deadly, at Sisters in Crime’s next event – 8 pm, Friday 19 July, at its regular South Melbourne haunt, the Rising Sun Hotel.
Melbourne-based Angela Savage is the author of three crime novels set in Thailand, featuring the Australian ex-pat Jayne Keeney. Her latest, The Dead Beach (Text) is just launched.
Angela has worked and travelled extensively in Asia and currently heads up a small peak body of community development organisations.
“The Dying Beach,” Savage says, was inspired in part by the setting. I first visited Krabi in January 2009 and the moment I clapped eyes on Princess Beach, I knew I had to set a novel there. What is it about crime writers that makes us feel compelled to pepper beautiful landscapes with dead bodies?
“The story was also inspired by the work of Thai activists in the 1990s to strengthen environmental protections in the face of competing interests and official indifference. My partner and fellow crime writer Andrew Nette worked for a regional environmental organisation when we lived in Bangkok in 1997-98, and without giving anything away, I drew heavily on his files in developing the plot.
“Being a Jayne Keeney PI novel, The Dying Beach is shot through with tension and humour, not to mention the usual smoking, drinking and shagging.
London-born Annie Hauxwell abandoned the law to work as an investigator, an occupation which she has pursued in Australia and the UK for longer than she cares to remember. She now combines this with writing and commutes between Castlemaine and the UK.
Her first novel, In Her Blood (Penguin Books Australia), attracted rave reviews and is being optioned for television. Her second, A Bitter Taste, was published in May. Both titles feature Catherine Berlin who is an investigator with a financial regulator and registered heroin addict. Catherine’s investigations – and her drug habit – take her into the seedy London of loan sharks, corrupt detectives and drug dealing.
For years Annie Hauxwell ignored the time-honoured advice to writers to ‘write what you know’. Finally, after working in London with Operation Sharkbait, a team chasing loan sharks, she returned to Castlemaine and wrote her first novel, In Her Blood, which immediately found publishers in the UK and Australia and attracted rave reviews.
“You live and learn,” Hauxwell says. “Since I stumbled out of a legal career and into a job as an investigator in 1991, I have pursued fraudsters, scammers, bullies and cheats in the UK and Australia.”
Annie writes crime fiction because she finds goodness restful, but ultimately boring. Books 3 and 4 in the Catherine Berlin series are on their way.
South Australian author Melanie Casey is the creator of Hindsight (Pantera Press), the first in a crime thriller series featuring Detective Ed Dyson and Cass Lehman, who has a terrifying supernatural gift, triggered when she walks over a spot where someone has met their end in a sudden and brutal way.
“A three minute conversation during a chance meeting with my high school English teach in a supermarket a few years ago set me on a voracious writing path,” Casey confesses.”
“I am now compulsive about writing. The paranormal has always interested me and I started thinking about what it would be like if you could relive how someone died. I'm a big fan of shows like Medium, Afterlife, and Ghost Whisperer, so it was natural for me to want to write in that genre.
“Hindsightwas inspired by my love for all things paranormal coupled with a murder scene I imagined when walking through dark and deserted university grounds late one night.”
Leigh Redhead is the author of the award-winning Simone Kirsch stripper/private eye series. After four years living in Vietnam, she's returned to Melbourne where she is writing the 5th Simone book, teaching creative writing, and wrangling a baby and a toddler. She has also contributed a chapter to the compilation If I Tell You…I’ll Have To Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets (Allen & Unwin) which will be released in August.
Sisters in Crime Australia has been celebrating women’s crime writing on the page and screen for the past 22 years.
Sisters in Crime – 8 pm, Friday 19 July - The Rising Sun Hotel, cnr Raglan St & Eastern Rd., South Melbourne
Dinner: upstairs from 6.30 pm (no need to book)
Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome
Sun Bookshop stall: members get 10% discount
Melways: map 57 H2 Trams: 1, 55, 112 or St Kilda Road trams Parking: free on-street parking after 6pm
More information: Carmel Shute 0412 569 356