‘Write what you know.’ I’ve heard this writing tip brandied around the workshops and courses I’ve attended since I first began my writing journey. I am a crime writer but I am a law-abiding citizen, an all round good girl. So how did I end up writing crime, you ask?
For as long as I can remember, I have had a fierce attraction to the written word but I convinced myself that it was better to stick to what I knew. It was far easier being a reader than a writer. This belief changed with the death of a neighbour. The poor woman died from natural causes as far as I know. Sadly, her body wasn’t discovered for almost a week. It was also around this time, the newspapers were running articles on the gruesome discovery of five decomposed bodies of elderly people discovered over a period of ten days in New South Wales, the most populous state of Australia. The tragedies were reported in the national media, and radio talk back shows. My thoughts turned to my elderly neighbour. I have to admit, I felt a little guilty even though I always nodded a greeting to her when I saw her walking past my house on her way to the local shops.
Not long after reading the articles in the papers, that elderly neighbour of mine visited me in my dreams. In fact, she visited me every night for almost two weeks. She nagged me until I had no more excuses left in me not to write, so I sat down at my desk and started typing the first chapter.
I set out to write of a woman’s lonely death and the social isolation of pride which prevents many of the frail in our society asking for help when they are at their most vulnerable. The story began with her dying but with my imagination the way it is, I could not have her meet her demise from a heart attack or an overdose of sleeping pills. I decided I would murder her. And so, my friends, this is how I began my life of crime.