What made you want to set your next novel in Tasmania?
The Survivors is an Australian mystery full of small-town intrigue and hidden secrets, so it was really important to get the setting right. The story plays out within a tight-knit community that was devastated a decade earlier when a storm took a terrible toll, and now risks being torn apart once again when a body is discovered on the local beach. Tasmania is such a beautiful part of Australia and it had that perfect mix of coastal towns and rugged scenery that was exactly what I was looking for.
What role does the sea and that coastal environment play in the book?
The landscape is a really important part of all of my books, and that’s true once more in The Survivors. The beauty and brutality of the Tasmanian coast was a perfect setting for a story like this with a strong element of mystery and suspense. I was very interested in the towns along the coast, and was particularly drawn to the idea of what happens in tourist communities after the tourists are gone.
Can you tell us a little about the protagonist Kieran Elliot?
I loved writing about Kieran and I became very attached to him over the course of the book. The story of The Survivors is told through 30-year-old Kieran Elliot’s eyes, when returns with his young family to his home town of Evelyn Bay. He finds his parents are struggling, not least with the absence of Kieran’s older brother, Finn. Kieran has barely returned home when a body is found on the beach near his home, raising long-buried questions.
What excites you about the Aussie Crime genre right now?
I love seeing the way readers around the world are embracing Australian stories. The Australian landscape and way of life is such a gift for both writers and readers, so it’s fantastic to see that being celebrated so enthusiastically.
We love the twists and turns in your previous novels.
Can we expect some surprises in The Survivors as well?
Absolutely! Creating twists and turns is one of my favourite parts of writing, and this story came out exactly as I’d hoped when I first had the idea for The Survivors. The Survivors is a stand-alone novel, so readers who haven’t come across my other books before can jump right in, but those who enjoyed the intrigue in my previous novels can definitely look forward to more.