Gabrielle Lord is well known for her successful young adult crime series, Conspiracy 365, she has authored 16 books and counting, her most recent being Dishonour.
Gabrielle is famously grouped into the ‘crime fiction’ genre, but she says this is not really the main focus of her novels. “Well, I didn’t really have an interest in crime fiction; it’s a funny thing. My first six books are stand-alones and although they feature crimes, they’re more about family relationships, which is my real interest. I often say the family is the original crime scene; this is where so much is laid down in the behaviour of people.”
Family relationships feature in her novel Feeding the Demons. “So I’ve always been very interested in family relationships and their effects on children and how that plays out. Anyone who’s read Feeding the Demons knows that Gemma is the daughter of a murdered mother and her father spent many years in prison and part of the story is Gemma’s attempt to clear her father’s name.”
Look to family relationships
Gabrielle says that she’s drawn a lot from looking that the impact her own family relationships have had on people’s lives. “Everybody grows up in a family so we all have a family to access, to look very closely into … to have a look at the relationship that existed between the parents before you or I were born and how that might have impacted on the arrival of a first child.
“Then the first child has to take its place, you know, within the mother/father relationship. And then, as the second baby comes along, that baby’s then got to make room in a place that’s already fairly crowded because there were three people having a relationship by the time the second baby’s born.”
Examine the effects
Then she examines the impact these events have on a family. “So all these things have an impact. And if the parents are emotionally immature, which most human beings are, especially when we’re young having babies, it creates all sorts of interesting challenges for later in life. So I look at my own family, I look at the way I was raised, I look at the way I raised my own daughter and the ignorance that I brought to that and wisdom that I’ve developed over the years and, you know, and slowly, slowly, it becomes more apparent.”
Gabrielle’s tip: Develop your idea until you can take control of the story
“Get your idea, develop it, ask questions of the character or the situation until you’re starting to storyline a story. A story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end and you can’t really do much until you kind of are in control of that – until you know what you’ve got – and you only find that by writing it.”
Listen to the Australian Writers’ Centre’s spine-tingling Murder and Mayhem podcast here.