Living by the ocean, far, far away from the ski fields, makes Lee Christine’s snow crime books quite the escapist treat. Dead Horse Gap is mostly from the perspective of undercover detective Nerida Sterling and Detective Mitch Flowers, a well-loved character from Lee’s previous stories. There’s a suspected murder, a long-held family feud, questionable alibis and of course the beautiful alpine backdrop. Readers will enjoy cameo appearances from Christine’s previous characters, and after the cracking finish to Dead Horse Gap, they’ll be eagerly anticipating the change in direction for characters in the next novel.
The author has turned her love of snow skiing into a major theme for these alpine crime novels, set in Australia’s iconic Snowy Mountains. Before penning three crime novels for Allen & Unwin, Lee wrote romantic suspense for Harlequin Australia’s escape publishing. Her 2021 release, Charlotte Pass, recently won the Australian Romance Readers award for Favourite Romantic Suspense. A former corporate trainer, Lee also plays the saxophone and is a regular speaker at writing festivals and libraries. Her new novel Dead Horse Gap is out now with Allen & Unwin in paperback, ebook and audio.
Short and sweet questions
Current book on your bedside table:
The Chase by Candice Fox.
Where do you do most of your writing?
At my desk or in the family room.
Favourite Australian holiday destination:
New South Wales Snowy Mountains.
What’s your preferred drop?
A chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Darrell Lea nougat easter eggs. I can eat two!
Slow walkers. I hate getting stuck behind them.
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be?
A coffee machine and a Darrell Lea nougat egg.
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for:
Nicole Webb. Nicole is a member of my writing group. She has written a memoir of her time in China. The book, China Blonde, is already published. She’s now busy writing a fiction novel, and I’m telling you now, it’s going to be great.
Australian book you’re most looking forward to reading in 2022?
Why, Paperbark Hill of course. I’ve loved all your books. (Note from Maya: aww thanks Christine!)
Best thing about being a writer?
I love being able to work my own hours and being able to work from anywhere is a great advantage too.
Worst thing about being a writer?
I prefer to be active, so I find it difficult sitting down for hours on end, and a stand-up desk doesn’t work for me. I usually gain a few kilos with each book which I then have to lose once it’s done.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence when writing? What song/channel/podcast do you have on high rotation?
I prefer silence, though it wasn’t always the case. When I’m up for it, Lady Ga Ga’s my go to.
Tom Ford Black Orchid.
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone. He’s always been a favourite of mine since Dances With Wolves and The Bodyguard.
The best non-writing related prize I won was…
A portable hairdryer back in the day when they weren’t a standard item in every motel room. It proved to be very useful.
Top three tips for aspiring authors?
Join a writing group. Join an organization such as Romance Writer’s of Australia so you can connect with other writers and resources. Never give up.
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing?
Justice. In the real world criminals aren’t always caught, but in my books the bad guys always get their comeuppance.
Proudest author moment?
Opening the box which contained my authors copies of Charlotte Pass. That moment was very special.
My favourite thing about writing romance is ….
I love incorporating romance into my novels. If the characters develop feelings for each other, and come to really care about each other, then it raises the stakes even higher when they’re fighting for justice and/or fighting for their life.
If anyone gives me flack about writing romance, I tell them… I
think silence makes my feelings clear. Then I base a character on them and kill them off in my next book.
Share a fun fact readers might not know about you:
When I was in my late teens, I was in a soft rock band. We sang on John Williamson’s weekly television show, Travelin’ Out West, which was recorded in front of a live audience at the NBN 3 studios. It was before John Williamson was the national treasure that he is today. NBN 3 are currently digitizing their archives so I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of our appearance. It would great to show my family.
Find Lee online:
Maya Linnell is the bestselling rural romance author of Wildflower Ridge, Bottlebrush Creek, Magpie’s Bend and Paperbark Hill (out June 2022 with Allen & Unwin). With a background in country journalism and radio, Maya also hosts the monthly online event Library Lovers for OverDrive and the Libby app, blogs for Romance Writers Australia and regularly interviews authors from across the globe, both online and in person.
Maya lives on a small property in country Victoria with her family, her menagerie of farm animals and the odd snake or two. When she’s not writing or reading, Maya loves baking up a storm, tending to her rambling garden and raising three young bookworms. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook, or sign up to her monthly newsletter for behind-the-scenes news and regular book giveaways at mayalinnell.com