Briefly tell us about your book.
Deadman’s Track is a thriller that revolves around three central themes: a tragic accident, a terrible crime and an unknown threat.
During the course of the story, three very different lives become entangled. We have Tess Atherton, a wilderness guide scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, Jared Denham, a police detective hunting a serial killer, and Jai Wharton, a young man struggling to hold everything together in difficult circumstances.
As all three plotlines progress and intertwine, the events of the story culminate in a conflict in one of the most remote places on earth, and each character much overcome their own demons in order to survive.
What inspired the idea behind this book?
My original inspiration for the three books, Bloodtree River, Devil’s Lair and Deadman’s Track all came from Tasmania itself. Its outstanding natural beauty provided a stunning backdrop for the stories while the history and culture added the extra elements needed to shape the tone of the stories, especially in Devil’s Lair.
In Deadman’s Track specifically, I was inspired by the work of the Southern Region Search and Rescue Team and the service they provide. I wanted to explore the dangers and sacrifices the men and women in these positions face in order to save lives.
What was the research process like for the book?
Challenging! I set out to capture the beauty and spirit of the Tasmanian wilderness, while at the same time highlighting just how dangerous it can be to the unprepared. Portraying this accurately required lots of questions and toing and froing between the Southern Region S&S Search and Rescue team leader on routines and protocols and past rescues and outcomes. Then of course there was usual conferencing with my police contacts to assist with procedural elements. On top of all this was the wilderness itself. Despite numerous research trips, it’s very difficult to put into words just how incredible the landscape is down there.
Does the creative process get easier for you with each book?
I would say perhaps the process does, as you gradually develop the method that best suits your style of plotting and writing, but each book has its own set of challenges and each book is just as much work as the last. You can’t skimp on research, on drafts, on editing, and you want to make every book better than the last, so that challenge is always there.
What is something that has influenced you as a writer?
My need to find things out. I was one of those annoying ‘but why?’ children and I never really grew out of it. I’ve never been particularly content to accept something without an explanation. I like to see why things are the way they are, what influences people to do, say, think or feel the way they do. Why do things work this way or that way? You can just about build a book backwards by asking enough questions about how someone or something came to be the way they are/it is. I think that’s why I like mystery and police procedural stories so much.