How easy is it for a man to simply disappear?
When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend? Or is there a real threat behind the abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?
On the home front, Archie’s marriage is rocky and his two teenage daughters are giving him all sorts of trouble. The frail but beautiful Helena Harper and her magnificent house offer an oasis of calm as Archie struggles to discover who is responsible for her husband’s disappearance. Has he really been abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened?
Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time as the case descends into a bewildering morass of obsession, violence and murder.
Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an Unpublished Novel
Finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I always write in the mornings, when I feel I can think more clearly. I have a strict routine and I don’t stop until I have written at least 500 words. That may not sound like much, but sometimes it’s a real struggle! On other days when things are going well I may write up to about 800 words. I have a standing desk in the corner of our living room where I’m surrounded by all my favourite books.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I always write by hand first, and then when I’m happy with it I transfer it to my computer using a speech recognition programme. I find this much easier than typing it all out myself. Then I read it through and edit it if necessary. Proofreading as I go is important because the speech recognition programme sometimes throws in some unexpected (misheard) words!
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea. Lots and lots of weak black tea which I sometimes forget to drink… At about 11am I have a break for coffee and time to think.
– What is your favourite book?
That’s a hard one! I have so many favourites. At the moment it is probably A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. She’s definitely my favourite author – I’ve read all of her books several times.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’d like to write a psychological thriller at some point, perhaps when I’ve finished my ‘Archie’ detective series.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Not exactly – but some people’s personality quirks might pop up in some of my characters.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No, but I probably should. Most of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night or when I’m at home. Sometimes something someone has said, or the way they’ve said it, sticks in my mind and I don‘t feel the need to write it down.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I can’t imagine ever doing this. Writing is such a solitary occupation, and I’ve often wondered how two authors could write a book together. If I absolutely had to do it, I would probably choose Kate Atkinson because she could teach me so much.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I would choose France, because I love the countryside and the picturesque rural villages. It would also be a good opportunity to practise my very rusty French!
Thank you, Christina O’Reilly and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Christina is an author and proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, most recently in Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2019. Into the Void is her first crime novel and was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize in 2019. It is also a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.
Or readers can email Christina via her website www.christinaoreilly.com or her Facebook page Christina O’Reilly – Author for a paperback copy.