Thanks for dropping by. I hope you like suspense, because I LOVE it and it's pretty much all I talk about. Books with a twist really do it for me, so I talk about them too. Of course, that's also what I write. All of my novels feature fractured families and killer twists. My aim is to hook you in and keep you riveted until The End. Check out my books page to read excerpts, watch the book trailer and find buy links.
If you'd like to stay on the loop, join my suspense community to get updates and news of specials and giveaways. And as an extra incentive you get my short story anthology, Strange Shorts, completely free.
Want to know a bit more about me? Well, here's the short version...
I consider myself a reformed academic who discovered fiction writing was preferable to the real world. My love of suspense fiction is thoroughly indulged through writing novels and short stories about Fractured Families and Killer Secrets. My novels have been nominated for the Ned Kelly Award and semi-finalled in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and my short stories have been included in several anthologies including the Anthology of Award Winning Australian Writing. I also review my favourite books, interview fellow writers, and blogs about books and writing.
Here's a slightly longer version.
What else shall I tell you about me? I'm an Aussie--born and bred. My parents came to Australia from the UK as part of what is 'lovingly' termed the 'Ten Dollar Pom' scheme. (My mother denied that for years, but now she claims it with pride.) Sun, beaches and long summer days are in my blood. As a kid I was never in before dark and on warm nights not even then. So when my parents decided to return to the UK after nearly almost twelve years I was not happy. I missed my friends, the sunshine, beaches with sand. Argh! Even as an eleven year old it was complete torture. Now, of course I wish I'd appreciated it a little more, the history especially, and while you are far more likely to find me buried in a book than watching sport, I do have a soft spot for English footy. I made some great friends and my memories of that year crop up in my writing quite regularly.
The journey toward writing
My journey toward writing has been long and winding. As far back as I can recall, I wanted to be an actress (according to my mother I was a 'right little actress' anyway). Then I wanted to be an artist. Drawing was always a passion and I was pretty good--when I put my mind to it I can still create something interesting. Then in high school I knew I wanted to write. Not that the guidance counselor thought that was a credible choice. So I poured my creativity into a career that people understood (and one that would pay me a regular wage so I could do all the young adult things like leave home, buy a car, go partying...and partying...and partying).
Something not immediately apparent about me is that my first career was hairdressing. I loved the creativity, but after a few years grew bored with the lack of challenge. By that stage I had been in charge of the loyalty programs for the salon where I worked and I became interested in marketing.
So began my second career as a unistudent/hairdresser/secretary. The challenge of learning is something I really enjoy and as I moved from undergrad to postgrad I realised teaching is a passion. I'd run or been involved in plenty of training in my career as hairstylist and had enjoyed passing on what I knew. A few degrees later I managed to get into tutoring while I finished my business PhD and from there nabbed a tenured position as an academic. Yep, that's me. Dr. Holloway.
Unfortunately, universities aren't so much about teaching and learning as they are about politics. At least, that's my experience. And that's where my well-laid plans came unstuck. Turns out that I'm crap at the game of politics.
And here's something else you may not know about me: my mid-life crisis came early!
On the surface I was successful: happy home life, loving partner, a solid career after ten years of square pegs, hurdles and burning candles. But I was on the fast track to a meltdown. In the midst of a traumatic few months I sat alone in a hotel room and reassessed my life.
Two years of hard saving later, I gave the brick institution that housed my past ambitions a heartfelt middle finger and embarked on a new career.
Oh, boy! Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?
Turns out those hallowed halls (these days plasterboard and commercial carpeting) were no preparation for the pacing and drama of fiction writing. I could string a decent sentence, even cobble the odd brilliant paragraph, but when it came to intriguing the reader I was stumped. For years I had honed the skill of academic argument: make a claim and then produce the evidence to support it. Essentially, this requires the writer to give away the ending. Great for academic argument; death for the suspense writer.
Within months of embarking on my new career I learned the first lesson of writing – Don’t give up your day job. (Doubly hard to take when that day job had been tenured). Blind optimism caused me to enter the very first short story I wrote into an Australasian-wide competition. That story was Highly Commended. I thought, Wow this gig is easy. Not so. The next few stories got nowhere. Crickets!
Doubt set in with every silent response.
It wasn’t long after that I learned lesson number two – learn to love rejection. I read somewhere that if you’re not getting rejected you’re not working hard enough. After all, you don’t know if you don’t try, right? I mean, Animal Farm, Anne Frank and Harry Potter were rejected numerous times before someone saw their potential. Now I think of rejection as a Pass, much kinder to the flagging ego.
The third rule had been knocking around for a while before I recognized it. In the face of adversity, persevere. Believe Elizabeth George when she says talent and passion aren’t enough, perseverance is essential.
So here's to perseverance in whatever endeavour you follow. Here's to enjoying life and the good books that fill it.