Author Spotlight: Poppy Gee
Poppy Gee is the Brisbane-based author of two literary thriller novels – Vanishing Falls and Bay of Fires – and one of my favourite humans! Not only is she a ridiculously talented writer (she probably won’t like me saying that), she is a big supporter of other authors and an all-round fabulous person.
Poppy has also managed to do the impossible…she has got me hooked on crime and thriller fiction.
As a speculative fiction author and reader, I’m not typically drawn to Poppy’s chosen genre, but that all changed after reading Vanishing Falls. Poppy writes character and setting with evocative precision, without sacrificing story. She carries the reader on an effortless and seamless journey, hooking you from the first page.
I caught up with Poppy recently to chat about all things writing and reading.
Q: Can you tell me about your latest book?
Vanishing Falls is a literary thriller set in a small town deep in the Tasmanian rainforest. In the tradition of the small-town mystery, a woman disappears on a windy, rainy night and the secrets of the townsfolk come under scrutiny as they search for answers about what happened to her.
Q: How did you get the idea for this book?
I like taking a beautiful setting and flipping it to reveal the dark underside. The stunning rainforest villages in Tasmania gave me that starting point. I wanted to write a story containing puzzles within puzzles. The woman’s disappearance is the first crime the reader sees, and it provides the novel’s scaffold but it is not the darkest crime in the story. People commit a crime to conceal a crime, and so on, creating a domino effect.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I started writing in a diary from when I was eight years old, almost every day. I love everything about writing, from simple word choice to the rhythm of a sentence, to the incredibly exciting feeling of creating an entire imaginary world.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your journey to get published?
I always wanted to be a novelist, and I understood that it was important to have a paying job, so I studied journalism and worked in newspapers and magazines while working on various novels early in the morning or late at night. Eventually, I completed a Masters in Creative Writing, and the manuscript I wrote for that became my first published novel. When I completed the Masters I sent the manuscript to an agent in New York, who signed me, and I’m still with her 11 years later.
Q: What are some of the things you do to promote yourself and your book?
That’s a sobering question because I feel like I don’t do anything proactively to promote myself right now! I write weekly book reviews and share them on social media, which helps to promote other authors. I believe that being a constructive member of the literary community is probably the best way to indirectly promote yourself.
Q: What’s something you wish you’d known before being published?
I have learned that you have to work as hard as you possibly can to polish your manuscript, and then, when you have no juice left in the tank, you still need to somehow find the energy and skill to work ten times harder to polish that draft even more. It’s a massive challenge with no payoff guaranteed.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write because you love writing. Write with truth and honesty and with the main aim of creating a body of work that you are personally proud of, rather than judging yourself on all the elements you can’t control such as publishing deals, reviews, sales or invitations to writers festivals.
Q: Can you tell me about your current project?
I have a dark psychological domestic thriller about housewives disappearing in Brisbane which is currently being read by my agent. I have almost finished a psychological thriller set on a private island in the Coral Sea.
Find out more and purchase a copy of Vanishing Falls here.
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