Silver is your hugely anticipated second novel following your bestselling crime debut Scrublands. How similar or different was the inspiration behind this book?
Both novels grew from a small germ of an idea. With Scrublands, it was imagining a journalist (Martin Scarsden) arriving in a drought-stricken town. With Silver, the initial idea was different: why was Martin Scarsden, the protagonist, so messed up? What had happened in his youth? From there I developed the idea of him returning to his home town.
Once again it features as protagonist, journalist Martin Scarsden. Did you always intend on writing your second novel with the same main character?
I always had the idea of writing more than one book with Martin. Once I’d finished Scrublands, I knew there was more to tell about Martin, and also more to tell about Mandalay Blonde and some of the other characters.
You previously wrote non-fiction books, how different was the process of writing a novel? And what made you decide to write in the crime fiction genre? Have you always loved crime fiction?
The process of writing fiction is very different – you get to make stuff up! I find it so liberating. I love imagining people and scenes, then getting them down on paper. I have always liked crime fiction, but I like lots of other genres as well. I chose crime because it gives an opportunity for much more than just plot: nuanced characters, dramatic settings, and questions of character and morality.
There are two types of writers: plotters, who plan out their novels, and pantsers, who “fly by the seat of their pants”. Which type of writer are you? Did your writing process change at all between your novels?’
Unfortunately, I’m a pantser. Which means that I end up rewriting a lot, as I keep getting new ideas! Scrublands was written in bits and pieces, mostly at night, when I could get a free moment after family and work commitments. I could work on Silver full-time, so I wrote mainly in the mornings. But the essential process is much the same.
We are very proud to have published both your audiobooks. Are you a fan of audio yourself? And what value do you think audiobooks bring to your novels?
Audiobooks are great – a different way to enjoy books. Authors love them, as they’re a way to reach a wider audience. I reckon they’re particularly suited to Australia, where people spend so much time in their cars, driving long distances or commuting to work, or on public transport. I’ve had such a positive response to the audio version of Scrublands.