Michael Robotham is full of stories. He had a crowd enraptured at South Learning Centre last night with his tales of crime, psychology, writing, and the Ozarks.
He is now a best-selling, award-winning writer, but started out as a journalist. Later he was a successful ghost writer, working on 15 autobiographies (including Ginger Spice, Rolf Harris, and Lulu – he turned down Bryan Ferry though!)
Michael started writing his first novel The suspect when he had some time off between ghostwriting memoirs by Lulu and Rolf Harris. There was a bidding war – he had arrived with a bang. When it was published, he sent a copy to his Mum. After a while, she still hadn’t read it and told him “I had three library books to get through”. She won a Friends of the Library Award for that commitment to libraries. Her review of his first book? “It took me a while to get into and then I did”.
Michael Robotham and Paul Cleave. Flickr 2015-08-26-IMG_8920
Michael talked about his road to becoming a writer, and his literary parent Ray Bradbury, as told here in Ray Bradbury is my ‘Father’.
He also shared stories about his dealings with Oz’s most wanted crim Raymond John Denning, It is a ripper of a tale and was sparked his fascination with the psychology of crime.
Michael told us about time with psychologist Paul Britton (who was the basis for the fictional character Cracker played by Robbie Coltrane). This was the man who went to Fred and Rosemary West’s house and when they found bodies in the garden said “they’re in the garden because the house is full”. Very creepy stuff.
His books all have a factual basis. The spark for his latest book Close your eyes was the murder of Janet Brown in Somerset. Life and Death was inspired by a man who escaped from prison the day before he was due to be released – and was never seen again.
I try so hard to write fiction that reads like fact.
Michael Robotham talk at South Learning Centre. Wednesday 26 August 2015. Flickr 2015-08-26-IMG_8919
Michael told us about his trip to the Ozark Mountains, scouting for a location for Life or Death. The locals were less than friendly. A burly Ozarkian Sheriff sparked good lines like someone being “dumber than shit on a biscuit”.
Not only did we get most excellent anecdotes, Michael also shared some writing tips. Find your own way. Do just enough research so the premise works, don’t let your research dominate.
Michael has just gained a new gang of Christchurch fans.
Michael Robotham and my Dad. Flickr 2015-08-26-IMG_8922
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