MURDER EP 21 YA Erskine spent 11 years in the police service. She is now a crime fiction author.

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ya-erskineYA (Yvette) Erskine was in the Tasmanian Police service for 11 years before she became a crime fiction author with notable novels The Betrayal and The Brotherhood.

With her background as a police officer YA Erskine had first hand experience into the minds of criminals. It’s an element she parlayed into her writing. “It’s frightening how easily it came to me. It never occurred to me to give it a happy ending, which might be a bit sad. I read a lot of crime fiction, and sometimes I think, ‘For goodness sake, why does it all have to be tied up nice and neatly with a pink ribbon?’ You know, the criminal gets caught and there’s the video interview, and there’s a full confession, and everyone goes away happy with their day’s work. I think, ‘Damn it, that’s not how it happens 99% of the time’.”


Sometimes what sets you apart is sticking to reality and not always giving the reader that happy ending that they expect. “Often the criminal doesn’t get caught, often the criminal walks away from court, even though you’ve presented the best possible case you can. And it’s not all happy endings, and perhaps that’s where my darkness comes in, and perhaps that’s why I wanted to deliberately make it a little different to a lot of other writing that’s out there.”yaerskine_thebrotherhood


Not only did Yvette give the realistic vision of what happened, but she also added some sneaky commentary of her own. “A few of the characters in the book, and you might recognise it when you see it, they have a little rant, they have a little dig. I’ve managed to slip a few comments in there in relation to how I was feeling and perhaps the bigger issues, like how I felt about the justice system and how let down we were. Whilst, it wasn’t cathartic in the way the first one was, I still had a little bit of fun with it and got a few things out.”

yaerskine_thebetrayalYA’S TIP: YOU CAN’T EDIT A BLANK PAGE

“I’m a fan of filling up the page. I heard at a writers’ festival once that you can always edit a bunch of crap, but you can’t edit a blank page. I’m a firm believer in that. Even if it’s not happening for me, if I know it’s crap, I’m still going to write it, it’s just “ a matter of putting the head down, and bum up, and getting on with it.”

Listen to the Australian Writers’ Centre’s spine-tingling Murder and Mayhem podcast here.