The Devil Inside is gripping crime novel about murder, betrayal, and the monsters who hide in plain sight – can you tell our readers a bit more about it?
The Devil Inside centres on the inhabitants of a peaceful Australian coastal town of Gull Bay. When a young female is found brutally murdered clutching a verse of scripture in her hand, local detective Charlotte Callaghan – a hard worker who is battling her own issues both in and out of the workplace – is put on the case. Her brother – and local priest – Father Joe Callaghan quickly becomes entangled in the investigation, as Charlotte’s suspicions fall on his parishioners. The body count rises and the pressure mounts on Charlotte to solve the case before it rips her quiet town apart.
How did your work as a police officer help you with writing this novel?
Over twenty years working on the street as a police officer provides a definite insight into all manner of people – all classes, all races, and all ages. That exposure opens your eyes to many things, not the least being the numerous ways people can cause harm to one another through both words and actions, intentionally and unintentionally, and the various motivating factors that can cause people to act in certain ways toward others. Obviously in a more practical sense, my work helps in relation to knowledge of crime scenes, how police investigations move forward and general banter that occurs amongst police officers. I have heard policing described as ‘a front row seat to the greatest show on earth’ and that probably sums it up.
What do you hope the reader will take away from this book?
The book deals with some fairly dark topics at times, but despite that my hope is that the reader gets drawn along by the story and stays up deep into the night reading ‘one more chapter’ like all good books force you to do. I hope it compels the reader to think about the long-lasting impact horrific incidents can have on people, and how the reader themselves might react in similar circumstances – just who are the real villains and how far would you go to stop them?
What’s some great advice you’ve received that has helped you as a writer?
One general piece of advice, and one more specific. The general piece – only fairly recently from an Australian author – was to get your work down on the page and don’t be afraid to show it to somebody. Realise it isn’t perfect, and have the guts to be vulnerable and get it out there. The more specific advice was something I read by Stephen King, that the ‘road to hell is paved by adverbs’. Whilst I don’t abide by it completely, I have found that the simple step of removing most adverbs definitely improves my writing.
What does your work day look like and what are you working on at the moment?
As I remain a full-time police officer my work day is probably very different to most writers. A typical day for me would be an 8-hr shift, which in the area I am currently working may be a morning or afternoon shift but also usually involves nightshift work. Sharing the responsibility of our two kids/school/sports with my wife and adding in normal family activities, that doesn’t leave a lot of spare time. My writing is usually squeezed in to an hour or two most days, in a study that often contains my son and his x-box. Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend! I am currently working on a second crime novel set in the coastal NSW town of Merimbula, involving a detective from The Devil Inside.