Life is Too Short to Live the Same Day Twice: Q&A with Dead Man Switch Author, Tara Moss

Life is Too Short to Live the Same Day Twice: Q&A with Dead Man Switch Author, Tara Moss

About the author:

Tara Moss is the bestselling author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction published in nineteen countries, a documentary maker and host, public speaker and outspoken advocate for human rights and women’s rights. She is the writer of the popular Mak Vanderwall crime series, the Pandora English paranormal series, and the feminist memoir The Fictional Woman. She received an Edna Ryan award for making a feminist difference, inciting others to challenge the status quo. Tara currently lives in Vancouver with her husband and daughter. Visit her at taramoss.com.

Buy a copy of Dead Man Switch here. // Read a review of Dead Man Switch here.

Your latest book, Dead Man Switch is a fantastic new crime novel, the first in a series. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

Dead Man Switch is set in Sydney, 1946, in a time when Australia is still reeling from the second world war. Billie Walker, who has returned from work as a war reporter in Europe, is a woman living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father’s detective agency. And then one day a client walks in with a case that looks simple enough, but is far from it. Billie soon finds she needs to race against the clock to save a young man, and she stumbles across a much bigger, more deadly mystery.

I adore the heroine, PI Billie Walker, who despite being a hard-boiled detective has more than a dash of Mae West in her. What inspired this novel and in particular, Billie?

Thank you. Dead Man Switch arose from my fascination with WW2, the strong women of the era and the family stories of WW2 I grew up with. I adore film noir heroines and reading hardboiled fiction, and the 1940s is a time that continues to draw me in.

I wanted to set a novel in the period and create a woman at the centre of that story who is adaptable, smart, stylish and has grit – a 1940s private eye story with a stand out heroine. She became the stylish, champagne swilling, fast talking and fast-driving Billie Walker.

What is your research process like for a crime novel?

Dead Man Switch is my first historical fiction novel, and it took me over two years to research and write. I always begin with the characters and their motivations and quirks, and I try to imagine what they would do when faced with various challenges and dangers, but those situations must be as authentic as possible. Research is key for me. That has been true of all of my twelve books. I’ve been set on fire and choked unconscious for research, among other things. For this novel I looked at everything from blueprints of buildings from the period, to authentic 1940s dress patterns and historically accurate news, maps and more. I walked through the old buildings, and could almost give a Billie Walker tour of Sydney. I tried things – like 1940s accurate darning – that Billie does in the book. Choosing a car – the Willys Roadster – was just one of many delights during the writing and research process and I hope I get to take one for a spin. Built in the 30s, there aren’t too many of them on the roads these days, but they were famously fast. (I have earned my CAMS race driver licence.)

What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?

I have a motto that life is too short to live the same day twice, and I live by that. I do write each day, but I don’t stick to routines, as they don’t seem to suit my personality. After 20 years as an author I know myself and my work fairly well. I am highly motivated, which is important as a person working from home, but I am also always changing and looking for something new to learn – different genres (this is my fourth genre), different settings and characters.

I have been double deadlining this year, with Dead Man Switch and also the fourth in my Pandora English paranormal series, The Cobra Queen, which launches in March.

What is something that has really influenced you as a writer?

I have loved storytelling since I was a kid, and I grew up in a house full of books. Watching parents read and having them read to you is often formative in establishing a lifelong love of books.  I’m grateful for that.

 

Reviews

Humorous, Polished and with Strong Female Characters: Read an Extract From Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

Review | Extract

28 October 2019

Humorous, Polished and with Strong Female Characters: Read an Extract From Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

    A Brilliant Female Empowered Crime Novel: Read a Review of Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

    Review | Our Review

    23 October 2019

    A Brilliant Female Empowered Crime Novel: Read a Review of Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

      Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss: Your Preview Verdict

      Review | Preview

      22 October 2019

      Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss: Your Preview Verdict

        Preview Reviews: Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

        Review | Preview

        22 October 2019

        Preview Reviews: Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

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            Synopsis

            Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with a stunning new series, and a stunning new heroine. Meet PI Billie Walker - smart and sexy, with a dash of Mae West humour, she's a hard-boiled detective with a twist.She's a woman in a man's world ...Sydney, 1946. Billie Walker is living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her photojournalist husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father's detective agency.Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating spouses - it's easy, pays the bills and she has a knack for it. But her latest case, the disappearance of a young man, is not proving straightforward ...Soon Billie is up to her stylish collar in bad men, and not just the unfaithful kind - these are the murdering kind. Smugglers. Players. Gangsters. Billie and her loyal assistant must pit their wits against Sydney's ruthless underworld and find the young man before it's too late.
            Tara Moss
            About the author

            Tara Moss

            Tara Moss is a novelist, television presenter and journalist.Since 1999 she has written seven bestselling novels and been published in seventeen countries in eleven languages. Writing has been a lifelong passion for Moss, who began penning gruesome 'Stephen King-inspired' stories for her classmates at the age of ten. She went on to an international career as a fashion model before pursuing professional writing. Her novels have been short-listed for both the Davitt and the Ned Kelly crime-writing awards, hit No. 1 on numerous bestseller lists, and made her Australia's No. 1 selling crime writer several years running. Her in-depth research has seen her earn her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy, tour the FBI Academy in Quantico, spend time in squad cars, morgues, prisons, the Hare Psychopathy Lab, the Supreme Court and criminology conferences, take polygraph tests, shoot weapons, conduct surveillance, pass the Firearms Training Simulator (FATSII) with the LAPD, pull 4.2 G's doing loops over the Sydney Opera House flying with the RAAF, and acquire her CAMS race driver licence. Stopping at nothing to 'experience' the research for her crime novels, Moss was set on fire by Hollywood stunt company West EFX and choked unconscious by Ultimate Fighter 'Big' John McCarthy.Moss has been an ambassador for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 2000, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 and UNICEF Patron for Breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Heath Initiative (BFHI) since 2011, advocating for better support for breastfeeding mums in hospitals, the workforce and general community. She is a dual Australian/Canadian citizen.

            Books by Tara Moss

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