AUSSIE MONTH with Sandy Curtis
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
Author of seven romantic thrillers, three contemporary romances, and romance short stories published in magazines such as Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day.
Tell us about Grievous Harm:
Grievous Harm begins with Agent John Corey undercover on assignment in a brothel where he discovers a girl, not yet into her teens, dead from a mid-stage miscarriage. He wants to find out who she is and how this happened to her, but he is told to forget about the girl and concentrate on his assignment. This puts him in conflict with his superiors and sets him on a path that will test his very humanity. When he comes across Kate Maclaren, an American woman trying to infiltrate a dangerous cult to find her six-year-old niece, Cindy, he knows he can’t leave her to search on her own.
Kate tries to resist her growing attraction to this man who seems to be hiding secrets, but she knows she will need his skills to find the cult leaders in Australia’s vast Outback. It’s a mission that drives them both to the end of their endurance, and saving Cindy and the other children means making choices that could destroy not only their growing relationship, but the lives of all involved.
What inspired this novel?
Some years ago I received an emailed photo from someone I didn’t know and it took me a while to work out what I was seeing. I don’t think my mind wanted to acknowledge the horror of the child pornography photo that was the body of the email. I sent the email to Taskforce Argos in Brisbane so they could try to catch the offender. An IT-guru friend of mine also tried to narrow down the origin of the email but said that it had been re-routed many times and a virus on a paedophile’s computer had sent it through numerous other address books until it finally arrived on mine and probably thousands of others.
Some time later I read an article about Taskforce Argos and was saddened to think what those determined police officers have to go through in their efforts to catch abusers of children. Reading what those poor children have to endure made me sick, and I wondered how the police keep their sanity when dealing with it. I started to write Grievous Harm because I wanted readers to feel for those men and women who work at trying to stop child abuse and paedophilia.
When writing Grievous Harm I decided to concentrate on Kate and John and their struggle to find not only Kate’s niece but the other children who had been caught in this terrible situation. I believe readers have a good imagination and they don’t need me to spell out what is happening to the children.
What are you reading right now?
Jaye Ford’s Blood Secret.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
I’ve just done the number one thing on my bucket list – travelling across the Kimberley region of Western Australia and through the Northern Territory. Wonderful! Fully recommend it. Australia has so much to see. Next on my list? Exploring the east coast of Tasmania – did the west coast a few years ago and loved it.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
The wonderful spirit Australians have. We are always willing to help out in times of disaster and in times of need, and we are more tolerant than some of the media would have people believe. Our relaxed lifestyle (particularly here in coastal Queensland) and wonderfully-diverse scenery is a bonus too.
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
How diversified it is. No matter what your reading tastes, there will be a sub-genre of romance that will offer you a great read – romantic thriller, romantic suspense, romantic fantasy, rural romance, romantic comedy, erotic romance etc.
What have you got in store for your readers in 2015?
My sub-conscious is percolating like an overworked coffee machine working out plot lines and characters for my eighth romantic thriller (still to be named), plus I started writing a rural romance with a difference, and hopefully I’ll find a home for Murder, Mayhem and Menopause, my women’s fiction about three friends on the cusp of 50 who deal with some unexpected changes in their lives. And yes, I couldn’t help putting a bit of a murder mystery in there, as well as some humour and a romance – sounds like life, doesn’t it (smiling).
What were your big achievements of 2014?
(1) Survival! Seriously, 2014 saw me getting over the health problems that had plagued me in 2013, so I was pleased about that.
(2) Getting my publisher to agree that some of the scenes in Grievous Harm had to stay for the sake of the plot and character development.
(3) Having Grievous Harm go into re-print within a couple of weeks of release (though that wasn’t my achievement but my readers’).
When a child is in danger, every second counts.
In Sydney, Australia, The Loving Hand church understands how children can be a commodity more precious than gold.
When Kate Maclaren flies in from Los Angeles, desperate to find her missing niece, she opens a door into this world, and uncovers a network of corruption and cruelty that stretches across the country.
Agent John Corey, torn by long-buried guilt, and harbouring secrets he must not reveal, joins forces with Kate to expose the sinister cult before more children disappear. He will risk everything, even defying orders, to help Kate uncover the truth and keep her safe.
But when their journey into Australia’s Outback reveals the psychopath at the centre of the network, it is Kate who discovers she will do anything for the people she loves.