I’ve always been an advocate of the “if life throws lemons at you, then make lemonade” philosophy, so when my publisher didn’t want my sixth book, Fatal Flaw, I tried not to indulge too much in the traditional “rejected writer” angst. Rejection happens in the publishing industry and authors have to be resilient. Shedding the odd tear and feeling miserable for a few days is okay, but after that you just have to get stuck back into writing and re-writing and see if you can turn a rejection into an acceptance. So after much eye-strain, teeth-gnashing and long stretches of wrestling with problem sentences and paragraphs, I have my fingers crossed that Mark’s and Julie’s story will find a home.

There are a couple of very interesting villains in Fatal Flaw, but Ruth Bellamy is certainly the most complex I’ve written. I’m always fascinated by a character’s motivations, and Ruth’s are not exactly what they seem.

On top of building our new house, relocating my parents to a nearby retirement village, babysitting our gorgeous first grandchild, and looking after a canine Houdini, I’m finally working on exciting new ideas for Grievous Harm, my work-in-progress. Although this story touches on a difficult topic, I hope my readers will agree I’ve written it sensitively, while still taking them on the same edge-of-your-seat suspense trip of my previous books.

Just as Oklahoma‘s Ado Annie “cain’t say no”, I’ve been kept busy this past year on several committees. The highlight has been organising the Bundaberg WriteFest. Now entering its fourth year, WriteFest is different from most writers festivals in that it is aimed at writers only, and not readers and writers. Instead of having just author talks and panels for readers to find out more about authors they’re interested in, the day consists of workshops and industry panels for writers to learn new skills and techniques, network, and gain industry knowledge. It’s the kind of event I wish I’d had access to when I started out as a regional writer. (We should have a website up soon, so look out for details.)

Over a hundred writers attended this year’s event, and picked the brains of author Anita Bell, forensic experts Kirsty Wright and Deanna Belzer, poet Ross Clark, illustrator Marc McBride, and CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre Kate Eltham. The top attraction of the day for a lot of writers was agent Sophie Hamley, who conducted agent/writer interviews – she even picked up a couple of the interviewees as clients! Quite a buzz. This was the first time Sophie had been to regional Queensland, and she was so impressed she offered to come back next year. You can bet I was quick to take her up on that offer.

But now I have to get back to pounding the keyboard and taking Grievous Harm’s Kate McLaren and John Corey on a dangerous journey through Queensland’s outback, where the thought of Australia having the world’s top ten most venomous snakes isn’t half as scary as the villains they have to contend with.