RESURRECTION BAY by Emma Viskic is out today, so to celebrate, the author tells us a bit more about herself.
I'm a classical musician
I studied classical clarinet in Australia, and then at the Rotterdam Conservatorium in the Netherlands. During my career as a musician I’ve played in everything from aged care homes to an arena concert with José Carreras.
I was once swept out to sea during shark season
When I was twelve years old, strong surf dragged me out to sea at Manly beach. While I was out there, the shark siren went off, warning swimmers to leave the water. I was eventually rescued by lifesavers, but I didn’t go back to the beach that summer.
I used to help my father learn lines for plays
My father worked as an actor for many years, performing in anything from Shakespeare to television. We would go for long walks together to practise his lines. That early introduction to great writing gave me a love of words that I’ve carried with me through life.
I’m drawn to stories about outsiders
I’ve always been interested in understanding the way different people live their lives. The first work I ever had published was a short story about a blind man when I was eleven. My debut crime novel, Resurrection Bay, features Caleb Zelic, a profoundly deaf private detective.
I learned sign language to write Caleb’s character
When I first started writing Caleb’s character, I did an online course in lipreading and went out into the world with earplugs in my ears. I found it difficult and stressful, and never became proficient at lipreading. In contrast, learning Australian sign language (Auslan) was a wonderful experience. Even though I’m not fluent, I can hold a conversation in Auslan in a way I never could while lipreading. Both experiences gave me enormous insight into Caleb’s character and how he encounters the world
I was a book-smuggler
In my student days, I started slipping novels into the lining of my coat when boarding long-distance flights because I couldn’t afford to pay for excess baggage. Unfortunately a woman has just been arrested for smuggling cocaine into Australia inside books so I think my smuggling days are over.
I have two busts of Ned Kelly sitting on my bookshelf
I'm not an aficionado of the legendary Australian bushranger – they're the two Ned Kelly Crime Writing Awards which I won for Best Crime Short Story and Best Debut Crime Novel.
I once broke my foot answering the phone
I landed awkwardly on my foot and broke it, but still managed to make it to the phone before it rang out. It was a wrong number.
I wrote my debut novel, Resurrection Bay, on WordPad
If you've been fortunate enough never to have encountered WordPad you should count yourself lucky. WordPad is the word processing software that comes free with your PC. It doesn't have a word count function, page breaks, or spell check and should never be used to write anything except shopping lists. I wrote all of Resurrection Bay on it.
I’ve just finished my second novel, And Fire Came Down
I splurged and downloaded proper word processing software to write And Fire Came Down. It didn’t write the novel for me, but it definitely didn’t make it any harder.
RESURRECTION BAY by Emma Viskic won multiple awards upon publication in Australia, including the Ned Kelly for Best Debut. It is published in the UK by Pushkin Press, £12.99.