Crime and thriller author Candice Fox is the author of the bestselling book Eden, the complex story of a hardened female detective set in Sydney. It’s the sequel to Hades. Candice is now working on the third book in the trilogy Fall. But how did she get her first novel published?
“I had been struggling to get any attention from publishers across four novels I had previously written. I had 200+ rejection letters. I stopped counting them after 200, because I thought, ‘This is really depressing.’ I knew some publishers, publishers knew me – only because I cried on the phone to them when they rejected me!
“I sort of felt as though it would be as hard to impress an agent as it would be to impress a publisher… so I just thought I’ll be cheeky and I’ll go straight to the publishers.
“I just knocked on absolutely every door. I think the key was eventually to give up on a book. If I had knocked on every single door and everybody had said ‘no’, I would put it in a drawer and write another one. And I was determined to keep writing novels every year until one of them hit gold.
“Hades was actually almost published in the UK by an independent publisher; he was the first person ever to have said ‘yes’ to anything I had ever written. I said, ‘Yeah, great, I’ll publish the book with you.’ And then he had it for two years and was just fiddling around with it, waiting on a cover to be created for six months etc. Then he just said, ‘Look, I’ve run out of money.’ I had really given up.
“I said to my boss at the university where I was working, ‘You don’t know any people in publishing do you?’ And she said, ‘You should try Gaby Naher,’ because she helped her with her book. I sent it to Gaby and she said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of crime around. I’ve had lots of experience in it. I’m kind of sick of it. It would really have to blow my socks off,’ and all of this other discouraging stuff. And she said all of that and I said, ‘Oh, alright, well here’s hoping…’
“Three days later she called me. ‘We need to meet each other,’ she said. It was great. She’s such a good friend to me now.”
Hades won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014.
Candice Fox is fascinated by the world of crime and murder. She created the Australian Writers’ Centre course Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder.