Continuing our “Meet the Authors” series, here is a guest blog post from international best-selling author in Mystery & Suspense, Vicki Tyley…
Born and raised in New Zealand, I traveled to Sydney, Australia with my boyfriend when I was nineteen years old and boarded a train to the other side of Australia– my first overseas adventure. We fell in love with Australia – the people, the climate, the lifestyle, the wildlife, the wide-open spaces, everything – so much so that we didn’t want to leave.
Seven years later and still there, we purchased backpacks, Eurail passes and a round-the-world airfare each. After an amazing year spent traveling and exploring, we returned “home” to Western Australia.
In 2000, an old boss of mine offered me the position of Finance Manager with a Victorian toy company he’d just bought into. I jumped at the chance to work with him again and at the same time experience a part of Australia I hadn’t visited. (The victim’s home in Brittle Shadows is based on the inner city apartment where we lived.)
Unfortunately, two years later I became quite ill. It was while recovering from surgery at a country holiday property that I decided that if I didn’t follow my dream of becoming a writer then I never would. Not long after that I resigned my job and much to the consternation of many friends who saw it as dropping out of society, we moved to a rural property ninety minutes north-east of Melbourne.
When I started writing, my dream – like most new writers’ – was to be a published author and to make a living from writing. I didn’t expect it to take so long. I was naive, but in hindsight, I don’t think that’s a bad attribute to have when you start out. If I’d known that I’d write two novels only to consign them to the bottom drawer, would I have even started? I don’t know. Would I have given up everything to write if I’d known that my third novel, Thin Blood, even though agented, would fail to sell to a publisher in large part because most of the publishers refused to even look at the book? (“Americans don’t want to read Australian mysteries,” my agent was told.) I don’t know.
But would-haves don’t matter. It’s what I did that’s important. I just kept writing and my agent kept pitching my work to publishers. Six novels later, I’m still writing. Thin Blood, the novel rejected by publishing house after publishing house peaked at #1 Mystery in the Kindle Store (#6 All Paid Kindle Books) and was named an Amazon 2010 Customer Favorite.
I often say that all my life experiences are brought to bear in my writing, but it wasn’t until my last novel, Bitter Nothings, that I delved into my own family experiences. And that’s probably because enough years have passed that I can now talk openly about it. In Bitter Nothings, the protagonist’s mother had committed suicide on what would’ve been her and her estranged husband’s thirtieth wedding anniversary. In one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twists, my mother committed suicide on my parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Obviously the details and motives are different and my parents were still married, but the emotion and questions are still the same.
The two brothers in Bitter Nothings are loosely modeled on my own two brothers (except my brothers can tolerate each other even less than the brothers in the story). But that’s as far as the similarities go to my own situation. Dervla, the sister in the story, is nothing like myself or any of my three sisters.
My next novel is very much at the plotting stage and I’m still getting to know my characters, which for me is one of the most exciting aspects of writing.
However, my biggest buzz comes when I receive emails from readers who’ve loved my stories (and even the odd one who hasn’t), many who’ve read every book I’ve written and are eagerly awaiting the next. And that is why I write.
My books are all standalones, but in order published:
Thin Blood: Ten years after two juries fail to convict a stockbroker of the murder of his missing wife, retrenched journalist Jacinta Deller befriends the stockbroker’s new wife, the victim’s sister.
Sleight Malice: When a badly charred body is discovered in the remains of her best friend’s home, Desley James is devastated. Except the body is male and her friend is missing.
Brittle Shadows: Two months after finding her fiancé’s naked corpse hanging from a wardrobe rail in their apartment, Jemma Dalton’s sister takes her own life, leaving Jemma to probe the dark shadows of her sister’s life.
Fatal Liaison: The lives of two strangers, Greg Jenkins and Megan Brighton, become inextricably entangled when they each sign up for a dinner dating agency. But Greg’s reason for joining has nothing to do with looking for love.
Bitter Nothings: Half her family have been murdered in their beds. Her father is the prime suspect. And things are about to get a whole lot worse…
The inspiration for each of these came from news articles and true crime cases to which I then applied a series of what-ifs. It’s unlikely now anyone would recognize the true crimes that sparked them though.
Outside of writing and reading, my main interests are design and photography. I like to laugh, drink coffee, spend time alone, spend time in company, and get close to nature. I dislike crowds, hospitals and offal.
Vicki Tyley author website: www.vickityley.com
Vicki Tyley blog: vickityley.blogspot.com
Eucalypt Habitat – Living in rural Australia photoblog: http://eucalypthabitat.blogspot.com.au