Once upon a time, a lawyer had a sudden compulsive urge to start writing.
Her name was Sulari Gentill and she is now a renowned Australian crime novelist.
“I decided to try writing a novel to keep myself occupied,” she said.
Ms Gentill is launching her brand new standalone novel The Woman in the Library next week at Wagga City Library and Collins Booksellers.
The former lawyer is happy to be coming back to Wagga for the book launch at the Library and Collins Booksellers.
“The people at Collins and the Library are amazing,” she said. “They have been fantastic supporters of my books. What writers come to rely on is the support of bookshops and libraries.
“You can do any promotion, but the most valuable thing in the world is word of mouth.”
Ms Gentill said booksellers and libraries helped authors be known against the big blockbusters.
Set in Boston, United States, the novel is a twisty literary adventure that examines the complex nature of friendship and shows that words can be the most dangerous weapons of all.
The best-selling author said while it’s a crime novel at its heart, it pushes the envelope of that genre.
“It’s a book about books and writers and a book about murder,” said Ms Gentill.
The crime novelist spent a couple of months writing it during the 2020 bushfires when she evacuated from her home in Batlow.
“It is hard to tell how long I spent writing it because you’re always finishing one book and working on another. Beginning dates and end dates are very nebulous.”
The inspiration for the novel came to Ms Gentill when she was corresponding with a friend and American writer, L. M. Vincent (Larry).
Mr Vincent was helping Ms Gentill with the research for another novel she was writing at the time, which was also set in Boston.
“Larry is a much more thorough researcher than I am, and he’ll go to extraordinary lengths to get that sense of authenticity into his work,” she said.
Mr Vincent had been sending answers to questions, menus, maps and paraphernalia from all over Boston to Ms Gentill.
“One day, there was a murder near where Larry was staying and he thought that since I was writing crime, it would be handy for me to know what the American crime scene looked like and took footage of the crime scene.
Back in Australia, when Ms Gentill opened the file, she was surprised with footage of a crime (with the body removed).
“My husband, who happened to be standing behind me, said ‘hope Larry isn’t killing people so he can send you research’. And of course he wasn’t but I thought, that’s a good idea for a novel,” she said.
“That’s where this one was born.”
With 15 published novels over 15 years under her belt, the Batlow-based author still loves the process of putting together a book.
“I still love writing and write whenever I can,” she said.
Ms Gentill said she writes best in the mornings but finds the world conspires against her to keep her busy at that time.
“I sometimes find myself writing at two in the morning, so it’s never scheduled,” she said.
“I’m fairly easy. I write in my pyjamas in bed with the television on and my dogs at my feet.
Ms Gentill didn’t have any expectations about how the novel would turn out. She said she never plots her stories and never knows how they will end.
“I am pleased with how it all came together, its shape and how it feels.”
The book launch for The Woman in the Library will be held at Collins Booksellers on Wednesday 1 June from 10 am and Wagga City Library on Thursday 2 June from 5:45 pm.