Why Set a Thriller in Western Australia?

runing blindThe Story Behind Terror Stash

The smart answer is:  Why not?  There’s been stranger places that quite excellent thriller have been set in, including runaway best sellers.  A classic that springs to mind is Running Blind, a 1970s espionage novel by English thriller writer Desmond Bagley, which was set in Iceland.  Not only did the book become a movie and a brilliant BBC TV series ten years later, but the novel itself raised tourism in Iceland for the next decade … and probably is still contributing to that country’s GDP (it’s a very small country).

wheatbeltI grew up in Western Australia.  Worse, I grew up in the wheatbelt area, which is farming country:  Nothing for miles but wheat silos, farms, sheep and bush.  And flies.  Writers are always encouraged to write what they know about.  When I returned to Australia for a visit in May 2011 and proposed writing a novel set in Western Australia, the reactions ranged from amusement to puzzlement.  “Why would you want to write a story about here? Nothing

Terror Stash by Tracy Cooper-Posey

exciting ever happens in W.A.”

To an extent, this is true.  Perth, the capital of the state, is the most remote city in the world.  It’s bloody expensive to get to, even from inside the country.  Once you head out of the metropolitan area and get away from people (and that’s remarkably easy to do) you can feel the isolation.  You can’t replicate that sensation anywhere else in the world.

I kept thinking about this, about the sense of isolation, the beautiful coastline, the beaches I miss so much, and the unique qualities that make Western Australia so remarkable…and just like that a story – a thriller – fell into place.  It’s a story that could only be set in Western Australia…that could only be set in Margaret River, in fact.  The geographical anomalies of the area are what made the story possible.

But I would be spoiling the story to explain further.


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