The Undercurrent – out now in Australia and New Zealand – is a speculative thriller set in near-future Australia and, yes, it’s a standalone novel.
There are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, after the challenge of telling a story over four books with the Rephaim series, I wanted to push myself to write a tightly contained narrative in a single novel.
Secondly – and more importantly – when I understood the story I wanted to tell with these characters, I realised it only needed one book to do it.
It took me a while to get a feel for these characters, their world and where I wanted to take the story. There were many false starts. I think I re-wrote the first 25,000 words at least a dozen times before I figured out what I was doing. (There were more re-writes once I had a full draft, but I understood the terrain by then.)
I had a number of competing priorities in my life at the time and felt like I could never get my teeth into this story, but it did come together, piece by piece, taking longer than I expected because I needed to get it right.
I tend to do everything at pace, but life was forcing me to slow down with the book and take my time. I hope I’ve produced a good novel as a result. It’s ambitious, I know. I hope it takes people by surprise (in a good way!). Most of all, I hope they’re hooked by the characters and the story, and enjoy the ride.
Last night, we launched The Undercurrent at Riverbend Books in Bulimba (Brisbane). It was a lovely night and I’m so grateful to everyone who came out and shared in the celebration.
Special thanks to Christine Bongers for launching (and asking great questions), my editor Mandy Brett from Text Publishing for coming up from Melbourne, my niece Katie for travelling up from Adelaide and the team at Riverbend Books for another beautiful launch event.
There was also a great deal of sadness waiting beneath the celebrations. My brother Steve – who has been at every launch even though he lives in Darwin, and who was intending on being at this one – passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on 20 July 2017.
I managed to say a few words in dedicating the night to Steve, and I wanted to repeat them here:
Steve would have been here tonight with his wife Debbie, daughter Kelly and her partner Mitchell. He and Debbie have been here for every launch. The whole family, including my nephew Aaron, was here two years ago when we launched Burn.
I’m still in shock at losing him, to be honest. He was one of my favourite people. Almost all of our photos together are of eating, drinking or laughing, and that sums up how we spent our time together. He was a gentle soul, who was also a third dan black belt in Zen Do Kai. He was practical and sensible, but would laugh so hard he’d cry at the most inane things (like the dancing donkey in Nanny McPhee. Watching him watch that scene made me laugh so much I cried.)
Steve loved his family more than anything, and they were adamant I still go ahead with this launch. So I’d like to dedicate tonight to Steve.
Despite the sadness, it was a lovely night – and a wonderful distraction. I am truly blessed to have such incredibly supportive family, friends and readers.
Here are some shots from the night:
And here’s one of my favourite shots of Steve and me.
If you’re in Brisbane on 3 August and would like to come along to the launch of The Undercurrent at Riverbend Books in Bulimba (Brisbane), all you need to do is book online – and turn up!
I’ll be in conversation with the brilliant Christine Bongers, author of gritty, page-turning, award-winning young adult novels including Dust and Intruder.
There will be plenty of copies of The Undercurrent available for sale, and I’ll be hanging around to sign them (if you want – I promise I won’t snatch your copy from your hands and commence signing without invitation!).
As always, huge thanks to Text Publishing and Riverbend Books.
The event is free, but bookings are essential.