Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘Crime Writing’

Still waters run deep (‘Who is Pufferfish?’)

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Tasmania, Writing on July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I’m a bit late to mention this, but I currently have a crime piece in the latest issue of Australia’s venerable literary publication, Island Magazine.

I profiled Tasmanian author David Owen’s character, Pufferfish (aka Detective Franz Heineken). As if he were a real person.

Interesting assignment… the piece is titled, ‘Who is Pufferfish?’ Australian author Carmel Bird sent me a very nice email about it, which I am enormously grateful for.

If you’re into crime stories, and Tasmaniana in general, I thoroughly recommend you try to get your hands on one of David’s books (pretty hard to find, although I do believe there’s a new book out later this year).

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The Crime Writer’s Inspiration List

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on February 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

When you’re writing a crime/mystery novel, your focus gets very insular. You get so close to what you’re doing that, I find, it’s really important to occasionally look outside for inspiration.

When I’m stuck or stale, I get inspired by (and this is a work-in-progress list):

Books

The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper

The Secret History/The Little Friend – Donna Tartt

Inspector Morse (the whole series) – Colin Dexter

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg

A Place of Execution – Val McDermid

The Ice House – Minette Walters

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

Devices and Desires – PD James (the opening scene still gives me shivers)

Death of a Wombat – Ivan Smith and Clifton Pugh

Stasiland – Anna Funder

Anything by Henning Mankell

TV

Twin Peaks

The Killing (Danish version)

Red Riding Trilogy

Movies

Swimming Pool

Let The Right One In (Swedish version)

Lantana

Secret Window

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The Ghost Writer

Music

December – George Winston

Mozart

Muse

PJ Harvey

Places

Bruny Island – I stay at my shack on my own, which terrifies me (and is therefore good for crime-writing).

Tasmania’s East (the empty coastline from Swansea upwards) or West Coast (especially Strahan, Macquarie Harbour and Gordon River), or the Midlands (the wide open farmlands and bleak hills).

Online

I use Ommwriter occasionally

I love Toast‘s online catalogues and Toast Travels

Wallpaper – currently, this Donna Tartt one

Looking at this list, I realise the majority of items on it are notable for their remarkable expression of a ‘sense of place’ – particularly a cold, out-of-the-way, edge-of-the-world place… (hello Tasmania). There are many, many more books, for example, that I absolutely love, but they don’t all make the cut when I need to be inspired in my own writing.

Agatha Christie’s Tasmania

In Crime & Mystery Writer, Island Life, Tasmania, Travel, Writing on January 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Agatha Christie came this close to being a Tasmanian… Sigh. I was born the year Agatha Christie died: 1976. I’ve also got the same initials as Agatha… I’m not superstitious, but I do admit to being inspired by this. To me – as a crime writer and reader – the great AC is hard to top. I have a bookcase devoted to her books. All of them.

I love how her books are the perfect example of what I admire most in writing – my ‘mantra’, I guess:

“Stylistically simple; intellectually interesting.”

Agatha didn’t aspire to any pretensions. And she’s sold over a billion books.

Agatha wanted to move to Tasmania…

Yes, AC travelled to Tasmania, as part of her grand world tour in 1922. She was entranced by the colours and stories of this island; she even checked out some skulls and skeletons.

There’s a great map of her 1922 travels at the official Agatha Christie site. However, when I originally looked at it, it didn’t include Tasmania. So, I contacted Chorion to pass on this info I’d found on Agatha’s time in Tasmania.

 

(The above taken from Nicholas Shakespeare’s book, In Tasmania.)

 

 

(Taken from Janet Morgan’s Agatha Christie: A biography.)

 

More will no doubt be revealed this year, when HarperCollins publishes Agatha’s diaries and letters from her travels in The Grand Tour – compiled and edited by her grandson, Mathew Prichard.

“Leaving behind her two-year-old daughter, Christie began her adventure at the end of January as part of a trade mission ahead of the British Empire Expedition in 1924. Travelling to Hawaii, Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the young author – who had already published two novels – described her adventures in weekly letters to her mother, also taking photos on her portable camera of the places she visited.”

Can’t wait to read it. And see what it says about Agatha’s Tasmania…

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