For a long time I’ve wanted to write psychological suspense. While pursuing my goal, I’ve read lots of novels in the genre, with the hope of learning how to create the same magic. Whether it’s called psychological suspense, thriller, or “domestic noir”, the stories are often about a woman in jeopardy, or women who are victimised who fight back. Sometimes they’re about men or women who are stretched to the limits of their endurance – even, at times, of their sanity. They are stories I can relate to.
It shouldn’t be any surprise, therefore, that when I look back over the novels I’ve read and reviewed this year for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I find most of the stories fit that category. I confess, though, I’m shocked at how narrow my reading has been.
1. Robyn Bowles, Rough Justice. (true crime)
2. Candice Fox, Hades. (detective/thriller)
3. Honey Brown, Through the Cracks. (suspense)
4. Dawn Barker, Let Her Go. (suspense)
5. Wendy James, The Lost Girls. (suspense)
6. Julie Proudfoot, The Neighbour. (suspense)
7. Anna George, What Came Before. (suspense)
8. Jaye Ford, Already Dead. (suspense)
9. Caroline Overington, Can You Keep A Secret. (suspense)
10. Gillian Mears, Foal’s Bread. (literary/historical fiction)
11. Kate Belle, Being Jade. (women’s fiction)
12. Johanna Fawkes, Public Relations Ethics and Professionalism: the shadow of excellence. (nonfiction)
P M Newton’s excellent crime novel Beams Falling, is another one I read; it’s the sequel to her award-winning debut, The Old School. Instead of writing a review, however, I posted a Q & A with Newton on the AWW blog here.
I didn’t set out to be so narrow in my reading this year; it just happened that those were the books that appealed to me. When I look at my “to be read” pile of books by Australian women, there’s a great variety of genre, from literary fiction to memoir to historical fiction as well as nonfiction. The books in this photograph are only a fraction of the pile.
What will I review for the AWW Challenge in 2015? I’m not sure. Recently, I’ve been borrowing books from the library and reading just for fun, and not all of them have been shelved in the crime/suspense/thriller section. Maybe I’ll start branching out again? (Otherwise, I should really change the name of my blog.)
By the way, for those of you who haven’t heard, my debut novel – a romance with suspense elements, Snowy River Man – will be published by Escape Publishing on 22 February 2015, under my pen-name, Lizzy Chandler. If you’d like a review copy, please let me know. I’d be thrilled if it could be reviewed as part of the AWW challenge for 2015.
Are you planning to join?