Join the conversation – book club for Write About Me

When I was in my late twenties a friend and I started a book club in the tiny rural Victoria town of Minyip, home of the television series The Flying Doctors. Nikki and I wanted to discover books that were not on bestseller lists, to challenge ourselves by reading books we would never consider purchasing in a bookshop, and to find books that didn’t follow a formula. Okay, we also wanted an excuse to get together and drink wine!

I have since moved away and our book club is no longer running, but many of us still keep in touch and remember the wonderful books we read and the robust discussions each book inspired. Although I had always wanted to be an author, I never imagined that one day book clubs just like mine would be reading and discussing my books.

I have prepared questions and answered a few as well for Book Clubs to get you started. And make sure you have a glass of wine for me! I’d also be happy to join your book club discussion – get in touch and we can arrange a live stream from anywhere in the world.

  • If you would like to join a book club discussion with the University of Southern Queensland, they are hosting a webinar with me on Thursday, 24 August 2023 – between 7pm – 8pm Brisbane, Australia Time Zone to coincide with National Missing Persons Week. Anyone is welcome to join and you’ll find details HERE.


Reader review for Write About Me

When someone takes the time to leave a review on one of my books, my heart sings! Reviews on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads also help my books get noticed among the millions of other books that are all vying for attention. Here is one which made my day/week/year for Write About Me:

“I am amazed at how deftly Melissa Pouliot wove her stories around what could (and no doubt does) happen when someone goes missing. Centering around the intricate webs of daily life, a simple decision like whether to turn left or to turn right, a decision any one of us could make on any given day, makes all the difference in someone’s survival.

I am also grateful that this story has opened my eyes to the plight of Missing Persons and that if I ever notice something ‘not quite right’ I know to reach out to a person and/or turn to the various resources in our community without hesitation. My heart goes out to all family and friends of Missing Persons ~ may your loved ones be found!”

  • To find my books and leave a review please visit my Amazon Author Page.

Senses on fire: what Helen Garner helped me understand about my writing

One thing the outback does is clears my mind of all the clutter. I have time to think, I am not scrolling through social media or getting caught up in the craziness of everyday life. I listen to birds, watch the sun come up, watch the sun go down and notice tiny details. Most importantly, I am inspired to write…

In the air-conditioned tractor cab while my husband sweats through another forty-five degree day on the post driver, highly lauded Australian author Helen Garner reflects on decades of searching for perfect sentences in her 80th birthday podcast episode.

Oops! I forget to lift the driver before I move forward another seven metres and I lose track of Garner for a few seconds, distracted by the exuberant hand gestures in my rear vision mirror. Back on the line, I slide my finger back a minute or two so I don’t miss one single word of Helen’s.

She lights a flame and my senses are on fire. I can’t wait to swap the GPS and tractor wheel for my keyboard. I’ve always been an observer of small things but Garner makes me appreciate the power observation gives me as a writer.  It is left to me to capture moments, landscapes and places very few people are privileged enough to see.

Dragonflies dance millimetres from the surface, while life-sucking carp feast greedily to create bubbles that spread from beneath and muddy the waters.

A yellow belly vies for position, determined to survive amongst the river-invading carp who breed like rabbits in the flush of flood waters that have spent months snaking their way across what is usually a parched landscape.

Bright white spoonbill ibis circle overhead, cussing in a deep throaty tune at human intrusion on their sacred place.

Birdsong from hundreds of tiny robins and rare bush birds fill ancient eucalypts that line the banks. The closer we get to the long concrete weir that stretches from one side of the remote river to the other, they’re barely audible above the hypnotising roar of water.

It is easy to picture Aboriginals gathering in this sacred place, feasting from the rich food and water source that nourished them for thousands of years.

Yabbies the size of crayfish.

Rock skimming amusing us for hours.

Now all I need to do is insert a body floating over this isolated weir and I’m well on my way to my next plot twist. Watch this space!

Australian crime writer finds stories in the outback

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you’ll get a mix of outback sunsets, coastal sunrises and whole mish mash of quotes I find inspiring and quirky reels that make me smile. I was thinking this morning as I put a selection of outback stories together that people might wonder why I have so many outback photos, where my outback crime stories are based.

My love of the outback started when I was 18, and I spent a year on a remote sheep station in southwest Queensland as a governess to two adorable children. It is also where I met my husband, and our love of this landscape keeps us circling back out here.

I have a media background and my husband has a fencing business, and for the past several decades we have had many adventures in remote locations putting up hundreds of kilometres of long, straight fences. We have done this with our kids who learnt at a very young age how to clip on and hook up barbed wire, and as they got older they have also learnt what it’s like to be in remote locations without any internet!

When we first started fencing in the 90s I was working in a newspaper newsroom and I would go out to the fenceline in my lunch breaks in my business suit and high heels to help sight in the line. These days, we use much more sophisticated GPS technology to get the fencelines straight, and although I still work in the media through my own media company, I no longer wear a suit or heels when I’m fencing!

My husband and I have taken the outback photos on the covers of my Rhiannon Series books, with the outback landscapes we work in there is no need for photoshopping or purchasing a shutterstock image!


True crime podcast recommendations

books Write About Me Found

Continuing on the theme of fact or fiction, I’ve been travelling a lot and listening to true crime podcast series including Casefile, ‘The Detective’s Dilemma’. This took me back to 2014 when a retired UK Detective Inspector, Chris Gould, read Write About Me then asked me to endorse a safety app inspired by the case in this podcast.

I’ve dug into the archives for the story I wrote about meeting Chris, it was such a big moment for me. It also highlights is how far technology has come since 2014! Back then I couldn’t believe there was an app that could help track a missing person’s last movements, never imagining that 9 years later we would have an app to track just about every little thing. Read How an author and 2 knights make a SafeKnight.

The Detectives Dilemma true crime podcast also highlights is how people can get away with murder on a technicality and really honours the trauma their families endure. Another true crime podcast series that further emphasises this point is ‘Matty’ on Casefile which I also highly recommend. Matty’s father has a great quote – “It is not a justice system, it’s just a system.”

And the number #1 podcast on Spotify right now is ‘The Frankston Murders’. I am yet to listen but I am so looking forward to it. This is narrated by Australian true crime podcaster and author Vikki Petraitis (who came to my Sisters in Crime event in my hometown last year) and is part of a really big push to prevent a serial killer from being released from jail.



Fact Or Fiction, Or That Dangerous Space Inbetween?

“I don’t think that would happen in real life, it’s not believable.”

I was indignant at the comments of a former editor of my books who felt one of the storylines about a missing teenager was taking the crime and trauma she went through to unrealistic levels. I fought hard against her editing advice and didn’t change a thing. As a writer you need to have confidence in your words and stick by the work you have created. As a self-published author it is a lot easier for me to do this, and I wonder what it would be like for traditionally published authors who hand their manuscript over to a publishing house and potentially lose some of that decision making.

I’ve always strived to stay true to writing from somewhere real. My self-published stories come from a deep dark place inside myself and are inspired by my early media career in outback Queensland and rural Victoria reporting on stories you couldn’t even dream up. Add into the mix that I lived for 30 years without knowing what happened to my cousin Ursula. Our family agonised over her whereabouts, wondering if she was a victim of serial killer Ivan Milat. The last confirmed sighting of Ursula in 1987 was in Kings Cross Sydney; we also wondered whether she’d gotten caught up in police corruption, or if she had become part of the Underbelly scene of this time.

Writing and self-publishing crime fiction has become an escape from reality for me, and as an avid reader of crime fiction, I want to write books that other readers can escape into as well. I also want to leave you wondering – is this fact or fiction or that dangerous space inbetween?

  • Write About Me sparked a new investigation into the cold case mystery of Ursula Dianne Barwick. Australian Story’s episode Forever Young tries to untangle the tangled story which led us to the truth.

How an author and 2 knights make a SafeKnight

From the archives

I wrote this blog in 2014, soon after I met retired UK Detective Inspector Chris Gould, who was instrumental in helping me put together fresh evidence for my cousin Ursula Barwick’s case and take it to NSW Police, resulting in new Kings Cross detectives being assigned, helping us solve the 30 year mystery of Ursula’s disappearance. Chris also endorsed my debut crime fiction bestseller Write About Me, describing it as ‘enthralling, emotionally and psychologically accurate’ (read full review below).

My reasons for digging this story out of the archives is having listened to two podcast series. I highly recommend them and have included links for you to download!

Posted on January 31, 2014 

Recently I met two knights. Their names are Chris Gould and Chris Hawthorn.

Knight 1 is Chris Gould, chairman and founder of Child-Safe International. Knight 2 is Chris Hawthorn, who founded The SafeKnight Foundation and poured his life savings into developing the SafeKnight mobile phone app. This free app is BBC Click’s Best App of 2012 and was a top five finalist in a World Youth & Student Travel Conference competition in Sydney last September.

I have decided to refer to them as Knight 1 and 2 instead of Chris 1 and 2 because what they are doing all over the world for young people can truly be likened to ‘knights in shining armour’.

Knight 1 Chris Gould contacted me  after reading ‘Write About Me’, my debut crime fiction bestseller about a missing Australian teenager called Annabelle Brown which is inspired by my cousin Ursula Barwick, missing for more than 26 years.

I have met Knight 1 in person and Knight 2 Chris Hawthorn via the virtual world.

It is an honour and a privilege to be collaborating with them  to help prevent young people from going missing and to find missing people via this amazing technology.

Write About Me Review

By Chris Gould

As an ex-professional who has worked on numerous cases of missing people, I found the story enthralling, emotionally and psychologically accurate with a wide range of implicit messages and support for those families and friends who have ever found themselves in such an awful position.

Advances in the development of social media; support in Australia with the introduction of the AFP National Missing Persons Co-ordination Centre, Crimestoppers, Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN), Australian Missing Persons Register and other such organisations, campaigns and technology – there is today, much more help available than in the 1980s.

Child-Safe International and the SafeKnight Foundation are now collaborating with author Melissa Pouliot to endorse her book ‘Write About Me’ and to promote a new FREE mobile download safety app called SafeKnight. A tool not available for those like Ursula Barwick (a case on which “Write About Me’ is based, in the 1980s).

Write About Me‘ is an excellent read and I would like to personally give it my endorsement and support. Once started, I couldn’t put the book down. A tribute to the author.

Kind words for Write About Me & Found

books Write About Me Found

What I love most about being an author is getting feedback from my readers on my two crime fiction series – the Missing Annabelle Brown Series and the Rhiannon Series. It’s not all positive and it does require developing a thick skin, but the kind words far outweigh those that are not so kind! When I’m doubting my ability as a writer or suffering from writer’s block and feel stuck on my work in progress, I go to my reviews to remind me – this is why I write!!

Here is one book review from Write About Me which is book 1 in the Annabelle Brown Missing Series that has absolutely made my day.

I am amazed at how deftly Melissa Pouliot wove her stories around what could (and no doubt does) happen when someone goes missing. Centering around the intricate webs of daily life, a simple decision like whether to turn left or to turn right, a decision any one of us could make on any given day, makes all the difference in someone’s survival.

I am also grateful that this story has opened my eyes to the plight of Missing Persons and that if I ever notice something ‘not quite right’ I know to reach out to a person and/or turn to the various resources in our community without hesitation. My heart goes out to all family and friends of Missing Persons ~ may your loved ones be found!

And another book review for the sequel, Found.

Page turning, gripping and beautifully written. Heartbreaking and heartwarming. FOUND highlights an issue that affects so many, missing, and gives you a very personal insight into what it’s like for those who are left behind. Bring tissues.

Starting 2023 on the theme of ‘new’

Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to my new MP Book News subscribers. I notice some from the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and it’s such a big deal for me to have so many people from around the world in my book circle. Thankyou!

I saw in the New Year in the Australian outback and I managed a pretty impressive sunset star for the last day of 2022. If you are a Yellowstone fan you might notice that sun stars are a prominent feature and I think my photo definitely gives Yellowstone a run for their money!
It means so much to us to be here after a forced four-month hiatus from being able to run our fence contracting business. We haven’t been able to get here until now because it has been under flood water all that time, including our living quarters. A lot of areas in NSW flooded during 2022 and there was extensive media coverage when towns were inundated. But one story that didn’t make the news was the one about the rural families who were isolated for months and months, desperately trying to save their livestock while flooded inland river systems converged and spread water onto paddocks where they’d never been flooded before. There were many rural businesses like ours whose equipment was inaccessible, and for all those months we had to sit on our hands and wait it out. It was tough.
It is the longest running flood in many people’s memories and the damage, destruction and heartache it created is beyond compare. The farmers who we rely on for the food we eat are saying they would prefer a drought to a flood. They were isolated for a start, with the only access to their properties by boat or helicopter. The number of sheep, cattle and wildlife that perished will break your heart because the water spread over such a large area and there was nowhere for them to go. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops* were unable to be harvested because they were under water and it will take a long time for the agricultural industry to rebuild.

But the resilience of the people who live out here is like nothing you’ve ever seen, and they are moving forward day by day and leaving it all behind. We are too. I think this is a fantastic approach for the New Year and my theme for 2023 is NEW.

New year.
New beginnings.
New starts.
New ideas.
New opportunities.
New books!

Speaking of new books, this segues into what I’m planning for today.

I’ll start by asking, what’s the weather like where you are? As you would expect in the Australian outback in summer, it is HOT. Today the forecast temperature is 42 degrees Celsius and so this afternoon my plan is to sit under my air-conditioner and keep working on my new outback crime novel! My main character’s name is Bunny Brown-Leather and I’d love to know if that resonates with you at all? Naming characters is the hardest thing to do so I’m using names from my subscriber list as inspiration. Once I have a name the character starts to come to life. Bunny is a city girl, super smart, conservative upbringing and with a dream to be a reporter. She has landed her first job in Bourke which is a wild west town, and a far cry from the suburban, leafy city streets she grew up in. Bourke isn’t quite the romantic outback town with cowboys wandering the streets that she envisaged. She’s pretty sassy though, and is determined to get the latest scoop. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue planned and a twist you won’t see coming.I’d love to get some feedback on her name though, all ideas welcome!

More free books

Amazon Kindle is offering the next two books in my Rhiannon Series for free this month. If you are still book binging for the holidays, now is a great time to download them so when you reach the cliffhanger of each one (sorry, not sorry) you can keep going!

Go to my Amazon page to keep an eye on when which book is free. When they’re not free I have them priced as low as Amazon will let me, less than a cup of takeaway coffee, so they are more accessible to more people.

If you are reading my books and love them, I would love if you could share a review. This helps my books get noticed in the biggest bookstore in the world, plus gives me a huge confidence boost and inspiration to keep writing. Have a great day wherever you are!

Melissa x

*I don’t know the exact numbers for crop losses or stock or wildlife losses of the NSW Floods, so the hectares of crop losses is an estimate only

Find Me book boxes shipped around the world


This Find Me by Melissa Pouliot-inspired book box created by 4 Blue Stones is destined for a picturesque, small ocean town named Eden on the Sapphire Coast NSW where cruise ships from around the world stop.
They can browse the Eden Tourist Information Centre which is a brand new purpose built welcoming facility to the region. This means these book boxes will be shipped around the world – literally!
Sapphire Coast Buslines also takes visitors all around this beautiful part of the world where natural beauty and locally produced food, arts and experiences are a real highlight.
Visitors to the Sapphire Coast NSW are always looking for things to take back onto the ship with them to remind them of where they’ve been, and this box is filled with treasures that are all created locally on the Sapphire Coast, including my crime novels which are set in the Australian outback.
There have been many orders of these book boxes including from one of my loyal readers in the UK (thankyou Ian!).
If you are interested in a Melissa Pouliot book box containing one of my crime novels including Find Me, contact Wendy at 4 Blue Stones.