Welcome to Writers on Wednesday. This week I'm chatting with debut crime writer, Sandi Wallace.
Tell me a bit about yourself …
As a tiny kid, I was a shy bookworm with an overactive imagination – and not too much has changed. I fell in love with crime and adventure in film and print thanks to the likes of Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. At about the age of six, I penned my first book (don’t ever ask to see that one!) and invented songs in the shower too. It would be around that time that I decided I wanted to be a crime writer when I grew up.
Well, it has taken a while to develop my individual style and hone my skills but in the meantime, I’ve served my writer’s apprenticeship in a variety of jobs from banker, to paralegal, office manager, journalist and personal trainer, and that all certainly provides plenty of fodder for my stories. I still say, though, if I hadn’t become a writer, I would’ve been a police detective. In fact, I came “this close” to joining the police force several times.
But I’m glad I hung out for my real dream – to be a crime writer. And I’m ecstatic to finally be able to share Tell Me Why with readers, thanks to Clan Destine Press.
Tell us about your most recently published book?
My debut crime novel Tell Me Why was released by Clan Destine Press at the end of August 2014. It is the first book in the Rural Crime Files, a contemporary rural crime series set mainly in country Victoria, my home state.
Here’s a teaser for Tell Me Why.
Picturesque Daylesford has a darker side.Melbourne writer Georgie Harvey heads to the mineral springs region of central Victoria to look for a missing farmer. There she uncovers links between the woman’s disappearance and her dangerous preoccupation with the unsolved mystery surrounding her husband.
Maverick cop and solo dad John Franklin is working a case that’s a step up from Daylesford’s usual soft crime; a poison-pen writer whose targets are single mothers.
Georgie’s investigation stirs up long buried secrets and she attracts enemies. When she reports the missing person to local cops, sparks fly between her and Franklin. Has he dismissed the writer too quickly?
A country cop, city writer, retired farmer and poison-pen stalker all want answers.
What will they risk to get them?
What will be the ultimate cost?
Tell us about the first time you were published?
My first published piece was an article for the local paper that I wrote while on work experience. My editor told me to “go find a story” and allocated me a photographer. So my article featured my best friend whose work placement was childcare worker at a special development school. It was good fun and great practice.
I’ve had many stories and articles in print since, including my short story “Silk Versus Sierra” which won the “Best Investigative Prize” in the 2013 Scarlet Stiletto Awards. It was published in an eBook collection Scarlet Stiletto: short stories 2013. That story is also rural crime fiction, although it is set in the usually sleepy, seaside country town of Loch Sport.
But my most exciting publishing achievement to date is my debut crime novel Tell Me Why. Dreams can come true!
What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?
Black Saturday, the sequel to Tell Me Why, is already in-house with Clan Destine Press and due for release in early 2015. It again features John Franklin, Georgie Harvey and the Daylesford locale, although some of this story is also set around the district at the foot of Lake Mountain.
I’m currently working on the third book in the Rural Crime Files series and in this one, Georgie and Franklin step back a little, allowing other characters to develop. Daylesford still shines in book three but the action mainly occurs in a new location that shall remain a secret for a little longer.
Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?
For me, there will always be something magical about holding an actual book, inhaling that special scent and feeling the texture of the page. I also find that paper books are great reminders of memories of when I connected with or met the author, particularly my autographed copies, and stimulate recall of the stories. Book covers to book lovers, are as paintings on walls are to others, don’t you think?
I love my “keeper books” – those I would like to re-read, share with friends and admire on my bookcase – to be paper books. But the advent of the eBook has opened an extra dimension to book enjoyment. It makes it very easy to travel with a stack of books and when I’m impatient for a copy of a book and simply can’t wait to go to a store, an eBook is so quick to purchase and download.
So I love both, is my long answer!
Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?
I can’t limit it to one because there are so many wonderful books that have resonated with me for different reasons. Some of the recent reads I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (and yes, it’s a crime-dominant list because that’s my addiction) include books by Katherine Howell, Michael Robotham, Jaye Ford, Ian Rankin, Camilla Läckberg, Bronwyn Parry, Alex Hammond, Honey Brown, B Michael Radburn – and the list goes on!
Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?
Without readers, we don’t have books. Without books, we don’t have one of the very best elements of life. So, here’s a very warm “hi” from me to you. I am very pleased to meet you and hope you enjoy my debut novel Tell Me Why and the Rural Crime Files series. I’d love to connect with you on Facebook and hope to visit Adelaide and meet you personally in the future.
For links to buy my book please visit: http://www.sandiwallace.com/books/