Author Candice Fox has a dark side. (And a slightly darker other side.)

No, that headline has nothing to do with an unfortunate sun-tanning incident. It is in fact in reference to a recent interview on our top-rating So you want to be a writer podcast.

Each week the podcast features a regular ‘Writer in Residence’ segment. In episode 48, Valerie Khoo spoke with Candice Fox – crime author and murder expert. It was all pretty good stuff, and here are some highlights to whet your appetite …

Candice on her unorthodox childhood:
“My mother used to foster children when I was very young…so from a very young age I had police hanging around in my kitchen at home. I would wake up in the middle of the night and there would be three cops in the kitchen all having coffee with my mum and some family of kids in the corner, terrified.

“Then I’ve got my father who was the parole officer at a Sydney prison and he would come home and tell my mother horrific stories of things that would go on at the prison and things that people who were in the prison had done.

“As a little kid I was just growing up in this environment, where I learned that crime and murder and mayhem are just a part of the world.”

On her not-so-unusual fascination:
“People say, ‘Oh, why are you so fascinated by murder?’ but everyone is. When there’s a crime scene at the side of the road people slow down, they want to see. It’s natural to be fascinated by dark stuff, I think. I’m just really, really fascinated by it.”

On keeping herself in suspense as she writes:
“I never get a big piece of paper and map it all out, as some writers do with little post-it notes and things and highlighters. I can’t do that, it ruins the mystery for me, I suppose.”

On Christmas parties as a child … at her father’s prison:
“They would have a staff Christmas party, and we would rock up and they would have shut the whole prison down, obviously, it was at night, all of the prisoners were in their cells, and we’d have fruit cake and stuff that the inmates had prepared. Mum would be like, ‘Chew carefully, kids.’ Trying to freak us out about it.

“Then they’d open up the prison yard, and we could all run around out there. And they would take us on a little tour. I remember they took us on a tour of the mental ward or the forensic ward or whatever it was. We were knocking on the glass and the inmates were on the other side like, ‘Hello.’

“I’m sure they don’t do that anymore…”

Candice has plenty more stories to tell – and you can hear the full interview on our podcast page
Or if you’d like to find out what being a ‘murder expert’ actually means, get your hands dirty here and enrol in our on-demand course Anatomy of a Crime: How to Writer About Murder – presented by, you guessed it – Candice Fox!

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