What I love the most about blogging is discovering new authors, especially those overseas who I might otherwise not hear about. So I was delighted when Australian Samantha Wood, author of The Bay of Shadows. responded to my shout out for authors to take part in guest posts for this Crime Fiction month.
“Everybody dies in your books!” she continued.
“Not everybody,” I protested. “Just the bad guys.”
It did get me thinking about my piece for this blog, though. Especially Sharon’s question about why crime fiction/psychological thrillers are so popular. And what attracted me to write in this genre.
It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision, rather I think it was an essential element of the storyline, and one which unfolded organically. In The Bay of Shadows my main protagonist, Elena, is faced with a situation that can only be described as kill-or-be-killed and so decides to take whatever measures necessary to ensure her safety and that of her foster child, Daniel. When I started writing I didn’t know how the story was going to pan out so I let my characters lead the way – the end result was part romance, part thriller, part crime, which suited the plot and gave me a lot to work with. The other thing that really attracted me to this genre was the question, and the tagline of the novel: how far would you go for love? When people say “I would never do that,” I’m always intrigued by that answer. My first thought is: are you sure? Because we are all capable of amazing and terrible things given the right circumstances. As Elena says after a particularly violent encounter with her child’s father, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” And that is the message at the heart of the novel, that love makes us really powerful.
Having said that, it was still really hard to write about the crime elements. They were essential to the story, because it was the only way of conveying the true danger that Elena and Daniel faced, but it was still hard. Describing a woman – or anybody for that matter – being assaulted, even a fictional one, was incredibly difficult. Anyway, in the end, it added so much to the authenticity of the story which, as authors, is what we are all striving to achieve. You write better when you are honest but it still took a few breaks from the computer to get it done!
As for the bad guy?
Well, he gets it in the end, but we all kind of knew that was going to be the case. It is, I think, the main appeal of crime fiction: that good will, for the most part, triumph over evil. Good always wins. It’s a super hero concept, but I like it, and I think a lot of readers do too.
How far would you go for love?
In a rambling house in a small Australian beach town, Elena Jameson is recovering from her recent divorce. To her delight, she is given the opportunity to foster a little boy, Daniel, whose mother is dead and whose violent father is in rehab. As Elena and Daniel explore the beautiful bay and wild bushland, they form a profound bond that will change their lives forever.
Then Daniel’s father discovers his whereabouts and begins a campaign of terror – not to get his son back, but to prevent Elena giving Daniel a new life.
As the violence escalates, Elena finds that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect Daniel from the brutality of his past and an uncertain future. Sometimes the only way to get what you want is to pay the price in blood
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2pna0ov
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCI60OZ
Samantha Wood was born in Victoria in 1971. Her first book, the memoir, Culua: My Other Life in Mexico was published in 2003 after extended visits to Mexico, and was essentially a love letter to her mother's country.
Samantha graduated from Monash University in 2005 with a Master's degree in Translation Studies (Spanish) focusing on the translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's little-known children's stories where angels crash landed in chicken coops and the world's handsomest man washed ashore. It was this love of the magic of language and words that inspired the story for her first novel, The Bay of Shadows.
In 2007, she joined Ai-Media, a world-leading broadcast captioning service that provides access for the Deaf and hard of hearing. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.
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