I suppose story ideas for writers surface in many different ways, but with my first novella it was triggered by a friend's question. We were in the middle of a trip along the west coast of Australia, and he had been spooked by something moving outside our campervan during the night. There were a number of mundane explanations (an animal of some kind, perhaps) but somehow, for him, none of them seemed to explain what he had heard. I had some sympathy: out there on that isolated stretch of coastline, far removed from our familiar city-dwelling existence back home in England, it was easy to let your mind wander towards more sinister theories.
I allowed mine free rein, and later that morning possessed the germ of an idea for a story - one I finally got round to writing ten years later.
Back in 2004 we were halfway through our exploration of a beautiful country. But far away from the bright lights of the big cities, the stunning landscapes, natural features and wildlife, exists the plight of its indigenous people, the Aborigines. It is now difficult to regard much of their treatment, from the starting point of eighteenth century British colonisation, as anything other than shameful. Subdued and subjected to widespread displacement, sections of their land have since been annexed for use by mining corporations in the multi-billion dollar race to unearth Australia's natural resources.
I began to wonder...What if something malevolent had been born out of that toxic combination...
A decade later, the protagonist in my story would find himself all alone in the remoteness of Western Australia, those tensions still bubbling away in the background. And I soon realized I did not want to be in his shoes - for, unlike my friend back in 2004, he would go on to discover what it was creeping around his campervan, outside, in the quiet dead of night.
The Carnarvon Creeper, available for download from Amazon
9 August 2014 (free on 9 and 10 August).