So, at long last the new book is now officially imminent. It has been to the copy editor and had all its commas rearranged and plot holes filled up with fast drying patches of exposition. Now it is being proof read by my wife—backwards, line by line. (That really is love.) Meanwhile I have made a cover that I am almost completely happy with, but will probably tweak a bit more.
So now it is time to try to drum up a bit of interest.
The new book is called The Ridge. It is largely set in Lightning Ridge, an opal-mining town in outback New South Wales that has a reputation for heat, eccentricity, and black opals. The genesis of this story came from a couple of converging ideas.
I have long wanted to write something else featuring Large, the villain from my first book, Left Luggage. Basically I didn’t want to abandon a character who was so much fun to write. The Ridge is not a proper John Lawrence book, but it occupies the same world. I like to think of it as John Lawrence adjacent.
The other idea came from my father. In his last years he was bed bound and unable to paint anymore. Without any other creative outlet he started coming up with story ideas, which he would pitch to me when I visited him at his nursing home. Dad had written a detective novel during the war, while he was in New Guinea. It was called The Flaming Jacarandas, an image I managed to slip into Comfort Zone as a kind of tribute to Dad’s long lost masterpiece. Anyway, one of Dad’s ideas was about an old opal miner who finds an enormous opal which might have magical properties and which causes all kinds of tragedy. I would sit by his bed and we’d talk about how the story might work, but I never really took it seriously because magical stones are just not my kind of thing. Then I had an idea of how Dad’s story could be a legend that formed the backstory for my ideas for Large’s return.
The book took a while to write because there has been a lot going on and merging the two ideas hasn’t always been straightforward.
It will be out in the world soon and you can make up your own mind if you think it works.
In the meantime stay safe. Wear those masks. Get that jab.