Crime writer, Tania Chandler ducked briefly into the Rusty Bore Takeaway to chat about her debut crime novel Please Don’t Leave Me Here. And Cass will be happy to hear that Tania’s the perfect customer for a takeaway…
Welcome to the Rusty Bore Takeaway, Tania. Cass is out on an investigation today and has left me in charge… here’s hoping I’ll manage without any grill-top emergencies. So, what can I get you? What’s your order?
A piece of grilled flake, minimum chips and three calamari rings, thanks.
We care a lot about cooking around here, especially, ahem, comfort food. Tell us about something you like to cook.
Hmm, cooking is not really my forte. Toast.
Yes! We do like a customer who’s not into cooking in this shop – a potential regular… speaking of which, what would you have trouble leaving behind if you moved somewhere like Rusty Bore (population 147)?
I need to talk to Cass about getting a coffee machine… Now, I was once told by a man at a writing festival that I shouldn’t write crime novels because “it’s just not good for you, my dear.” Have you ever had any strange (or preferably, useful) advice about your writing?
One of my writing teachers once told me that if you’re ever lucky enough to have a meeting with a publisher/agent: whatever you do, just pretend to be normal.
Another piece of advice I wish I’d taken notice of: have your author shots taken when you’re young.
What’s the best part of writing for you? What’s the hardest?
The best part of writing for me is the rewriting, the finessing.
The hardest part is the dreaded first draft when you know most of what you’re getting down is crap and you’re going to come back and delete it at some stage, but you have to plough on regardless.
Now, swallow that mouthful quickly, and tell us about your novel, Please Don’t Leave Me Here…
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME HERE is a tale of murder, love and despair. It starts with my protagonist, Brigitte, married with three-year-old twins. Fourteen years ago Brigitte was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. She claims to have no memory of events before her accident, or of the body found in her apartment. When the cold case is reopened, her marriage and her very sanity, is undermined by the pull of the past.
Whether or not Brigitte really is a killer is the anchor to the story, but the whodunnit element matters less than how Brigitte ends up, how she faces her inner demons and wins or loses.
What does your protagonist, Brigitte, think of you? Would she hang out with you?
We both tend to be a bit awkward and silly at times. She’d probably say I think things through too much. I’m sure we’d enjoy a drink together, but I would leave the bar long before she did!
What are you working on right now? Do you have a new book in progress now that Please Don’t Leave Me Here has hit the shelves?
I’m finishing off my second novel, the sequel to PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME HERE. It’s more crime fiction than psychological thriller, although, like in my first novel, the characters are more important than the crime. It’s set five years later, on an island in the middle of an inland lakes system where there is no way off after the last ferry leaves for the night. Brigitte and several of the original characters return.
Thanks for calling in, Tania. All the best with your writing!
You can catch up with Tania in person on Friday 23 October at 8pm. Tania and fellow crime authors Emma Viskic and JM Green will be in conversation with Sisters in Crime co-convenor Janice Simpson for “First Time Offenders”. For details click here.
And for more info on Tania…
Tania Chandler is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. She studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT, and her work was awarded a special commendation in the 2013 Writers Victoria Crime Writing competition. The sequel to Please Don’t Leave Me Here will be published in 2016.