During this crazy time of Covid-19, many authors have had their book launches and events, understandably, but disappointingly, cancelled. In lieu of this, I’ve opened my blog to authors affected by this situation to talk about their new release.
Anne Buist is the author of psychological thrillers including her latest rural thriller, The Long Shadow. When she is not penning edge-of-the-seat novels, she spends her time as Chair of Women’s Mental Health at Melbourne University. You will also find her writing feel-good comedy novels with her husband and fellow author, Graeme Simsion, just for something different!
Title: The Long Shadow
Author: Anne Buist
Published: May 2020
Genre: Psychological thriller (rural)
Old Sins Cast Long Shadows…sometimes you have to deal with the past before you can face the future
Issy Harris has never heard of Riley, a town on the edge of the outback, much less want to end up there. But her husband Dean is the Red Adair of hospital stuff ups, and Riley is where they and their two year old son need to go. A psychologist, at least she gets a job running the mother-baby postnatal group to keep her occupied.
From the first group, Issy knows something is wrong. Badly wrong. Pulled into the politics of a company town where a culture of corruption is putting the viability of the hospital at risk, Issy is forced to make sense of a threats made against her and her son if she is to protect him. Nursing her own secret and struggling to keep her marriage together, Issy is pitted against the local union boss, the politician patriarch and his family as she tries to work out how they are tied into a twenty five year old tragedy – the kidnapping and murder of the older brother of one of the women in her group. A desperate race against time and the unpredictable elements of nature results in a breathtaking climax where Issy is forced to choose what it is that she really values.
A story about mothers, attachment and the things that get in the way of being the parent you want to be.
From The Author
What inspired you to write this book? Where did the idea come from?
I have been working with women with perinatal depression for thirty years—more than enough time to accumulate a lot of stories. My previous thrillers had mother-baby themes but weren’t about more average struggling mums and their babies, and I specifically wanted to look at attachment, which is hugely important and a great way to intervene and improve outcomes for the whole family. I ran attachment based therapy groups for a number of years, and used that style of group as a base.
What sort of research did you need to undertake before/during writing this book?
I knew I needed a specific type of geography to make this work—something that showcased the extremes of Australian climate. After some internet search, Nyngan in central NSW fitted the bill, so I spent a few days here. The town in the book is called Riley, and not Nyngan, but there is some overlap and inspiration. Because there was a clear Indigenous presence and I didn’t want to whitewash it or put in a token Indigenous character, I spoke to and had two Indigenous people read and offer suggestions, as well as reading Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia.
I also had to watch quite a bit of rugby…hadn’t ever seen a match and in this location, Aussie rules was just not going to work!
Do you have a favourite character, or a character who you enjoyed writing the most?
Teagan, my Indigenous character, was by far the hardest. The book is written first person by Issy…but it was Teagan that ends up I think with the most heart. She certainly has some rough edges, but to me she jumps off the page.
What was the most challenging thing you found writing this book?
Writing Teagan! Then taking out 16,000 words…
What was the key theme or issue that you wanted to get across in this book? And was that something you intended from the start, or something that came apparent during writing?
Because I knew it was going to be based around an attachment therapy group, I always knew this was part of what the book was about. But I think there are stronger themes of loss, and broader aspects of parenthood as well.
How long did it take you to write the book?
About two years.
What was the highlight for you writing this book?
The climax scene. I really felt I lived it. It has my favourite sentences about the sound of nature in a hurry. More than any of my other books, place is a major character. We have a country cottage we write in and the delight I get from nature there was channelled into these descriptions.
If your book was made into a movie, what actors could you see in the main roles?
This is a depressing question…books you have some control over but movies…none! My husband and I have watched a variety of people drop in and out of the cast for The Rosie Project and its Champagne when anyone comes on board and Scotch when they drop out…if Margo Robbie had dropped into play Issy alongside Clive Owen (well if he was a bit younger) I wouldn’t say no…
Is there anything in particular you want potential readers to know when choosing your book as their ‘next read’?
It’s a page turner…but with some head and heart underneath. Though it is based around woman’s group, there are a few key male characters. If you want to learn about attachment, there’s a lot there…or just see it as mother’s showing the array of behaviours that mothers do, and enjoy the ride.
All The Links
Book purchase links:
Author website and social media links:
Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has thirty years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry, including forensic work. She is the author of three psychological thrillers, Medea’s Curse, Dangerous to Know, and This I Would Kill For, with tart noir heroine, psychiatrist Natalie King, and a new stand alone rural thriller out May 2020, The Long Shadow. She has been married to Graeme Simsion for thirty years and they have two children, and a joint romantic comedy- feel good mid-age novel, Two Steps Forward, and a sequel in progress, Two Steps Onwards.