Woman’s Day (Australia)
5 minutes with... KERRYN MAYNE
Wedding photographer, police officer, published author… get to know Australia’s new voice in crime
Melbourne-based author Kerryn Mayne spends her days ridding the streets of crime as a police officer, only to conjure it all up again in the evenings as she works away on her pulpy crime stories.
For her first novel, Kerryn draws from her own experiences within the police force to come up with her deliciously dark debut, Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder, a story that made Kerryn question her own brooding thoughts.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Lenny Marks came to me first. A woman who had long ago had something awful happen in her life and how she got up and kept going. It was always meant to be a story about Lenny, and not about what happened to her. I think it’s ended up being both, but ultimately it’s about her strength and ability to adapt. The setting and storyline of the book changed a lot – so many drafts from the initial writing to the finished product – but I believe I achieved what I set out to do.
What was your writing process like?
What’s the opposite of a routine? Chaos? I think haphazard would be a good description for my writing routine. While writing Lenny, I was on maternity leave with my second child and Melbourne was in one of its many lockdowns. Because of this, we saw very few people and I would take the kids for a walk, come home, put my son to sleep, turn the TV on for my daughter and attempt to write as many words as possible, hoping his nap was long and the TV show held her interest.
What inspired you to become a writer?
It was largely other authors. I used to write back in high school and loved it, but never thought anything of it and never kept it up. Then we had author
Sally Hepworth along to our book club to talk about one of her novels and
– long story short – she inspired me to get back into it. Writing is a great hobby – it requires little in the way of equipment and can be done anywhere, at any time. It’s been so great for my mental health and has given me a renewed love of books.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?
I like the suggestion to just write in cracks of time. If you wait for the perfect scenario to write, you never will. Aim small – even a short burst of 350 words a day will make a book eventually. And read lots!