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.