MURDER EP 6 Caroline Overington: journalist, thriller author and true crime writer

caroline-overingtonCaroline Overington is an award-winning journalist, magazine editor and author. Since the publication of her first novel Ghost Child, Caroline has published a book a year. Her latest thriller is The One Who Got Away.

Caroline Overington was a journalist-turned novelist and her fascination with current events and the real life issues surrounding our society always shine through in her novels. “When I write my fiction I always have real life in mind, because my argument has always been that you can say a lot more in fiction that you can in journalism. I worked in journalism for a very long time and [was] the associate editor of the Australian’s Women’s Weekly, so I’m engaged in journalism everyday. But it’s very different to writing fiction because in fiction you can really tell the whole story, you can get inside people’s minds, you can explain what they’re thinking.

“You can give explanations for what’s going on, and you’re often constrained in that when you’re working in journalism because there’s a range of different laws like, for example, defamation. If you say something negative about a person, then there’s the potential for them to sue. So, you need to cast your language. You don’t have to worry about any of that in fiction.”carolineoverington_canyoukeepasecret

Incorporating a message
Caroline likes to have a message and purpose behind her stories, usually surrounding current events. “Yes, I’m always trying to tackle a particular theme in each one of the books, or a particular idea in each one of the books. In the past 12 months I’ve really been fascinated, as I’m sure many Australians have, by the debate surrounding new arrivals on our shores.

“In part that’s because my own grandparents were refugees, although they were called migrants in those days. It was after the Second World War. They came out from Germany. My grandfather is Jewish, he’s still alive, he’s 91 years old, living in the same house he moved into when he came out on the boat.

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There was a lot of fear. Of course there was a lot of fear, but Australia has always been an incredibly welcoming community and people very quickly adapted. I’ve been interested in the past 12 months to see much more anger and much more resentment towards people who arrive. I did want to tackle some of the issues around that.”

Caroline's tip: Get started
“You need to start, because in Australia today it’s so hard to get a book published, and any publisher is going to want to see at least 30,000 and probably 50,000 words. Even if you were writing something and you think, ‘This is never going to get published,’ don’t worry about it. Just go and do it for the love of it, just do it because you have something you want to say, and then if you do manage to produce 30,000 or 50,000 words, then you’ll have something to send off. But you can’t get the contract without starting, so get to work.”

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

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