Unofficially, I think of it as a horror novel with a strong love story. I’ve always been interested in supernatural fiction, so it made sense to write in that genre.
Tell us a bit about yourself … Have you been into reading and stories from a young age?
Yes, I was definitely always into reading and writing stories. Originally I wanted to be a filmmaker. After school I spent 10 years trying to break into the film industry, writing movie scripts, making short films and shooting music videos. Then on the eve of my 30th birthday, I sort of had a bit of a freak out, because I wasn’t really any closer to achieving my film ambitions. If I couldn’t make movies, what was I going to do? It was then I hit upon the idea of trying to write a book. No longer would I have to worry about the budget or getting a cast and crew together. I only had to rely on myself, and the only equipment I needed was a blank page and a pen.
What made you decide to become a writer?
Even before I became interested in filmmaking, I used to write short stories. It’s just something I’ve always done. Whether it’s film, comics or books, it’s the storytelling that interests me. I like creating worlds, characters and scenes.
Your first published novel ‘Winters Shadow’ has just been launched in Port Macquarie last month. What is the genre, and what was the inspiration for this novel?
Officially, Winter’s Shadow is a paranormal romance, which is the same genre as the Twilight or True Blood series. Unofficially, I think of it as a horror novel with a strong love story. I’ve always been interested in supernatural fiction, so it made sense to write in that genre. However, I didn’t want to write another vampire or werewolf novel or ‘Twilight with mummies’, so decided instead to create an entirely new supernatural mythology.
I found the inspiration for this mythology, somewhat appropriately, in a cemetery. Around about the time I turned 30, my metabolism started to slow down, so I started jogging. There’s a really beautiful cemetery in Sydney called Waverley Cemetery, which overlooks Bronte Beach. I went for a jog one evening through this cemetery and as I was running through the tombstones thinking I was alone, I noticed a young girl taking photographs. Worried I might scare her, a red-faced, sweaty guy running towards through the cemetery towards her, I made a lot noise to announce my approach. Instead of being scared, the girl looked up curiously, and took a photo as I ran past. That got the gears turning in my imagination, and before I knew it, I had the opening scene of the book. I started thinking what if there was something strange in the photograph she took. A hint of something supernatural – not a vampire, or a werewolf or anything else readers have come across before. Something new.
Who are some of the characters in ‘Winter’s Shadow’?
The lead character is Winter Adams. She’s a typical 17-year-old girl, not the prettiest or most popular girl in school, but well-liked. At the beginning of the novel, she’s still mourning the death of her parents, who died six months ago. This horrible experience has taken its toll, and her grades have started to slip. For extra credit, she joins the school newspaper as a photographer. Her first assignment is to go and take pictures of this old abandoned church, called Pilgrim’s Lament, which lies on a mountain overlooking the town. While she is taking photographs, Winter notices through the window a mysterious stranger standing in the old church graveyard. This is Blake Duchamp. There is something about Blake that intrigues Winter, not just his good looks, and as they begin a tentative relationship, she begins to suspect he might be keeping a secret from her … a secret tied to the shadowy figures she keeps glimpsing in mirrors and her premonition that something evil is coming.
When can we expect the sequel to ‘Winter’s Shadow’?
The next one should come out this time next year. It’s called Winter’s Light, and the third one will be the year after that. I have literally just finished writing the first draft of the sequel. Also, I’m hoping to adapt the book series into a film script or TV pilot.