Wednesday 29 April 2020

Ian Lomond -- Australian Crime Writer

Living in Sydney, Ian writes about places he knows, and crimes and stories that we can imagine on the front page — murder, corruption, greed and lies. His career has focused on technology and change, where over a decade working for NSW Police and the Justice sector allows him to expertly weave in and share a perspective readers often don’t get.
With more ideas than time, Ian’s words are wrestled to the page, beaten into submission, and always in need of interrogation.

“Privacy. Is it worth murdering for? Money. What would you risk to make a fortune?

Brilliant web developer Peter Maher developed a million-dollar idea, using anyone’s private and intimate information–and was murdered one sweltering summer night in Sydney.

Experienced and instinctive Detective Mark Kidman, with developing and skilful Detective Rebecca Reid, investigate the death of the talented technology genius. 

Maybe it was the property developer, with political ties, and a dubious past. He has the most to lose, and behind his smile lies a tiger in waiting. 

Or what is Peter’s connection to an old decrepit pub, run by an underworld heavyweight past their prime?

Around the harbour city the detectives and their team chase down the leads, as witnesses, connections and violence reach a deadly climax for one detective. 

* * *

When did you start writing?

I have had to write in a professional, technical capacity for several decades. After high school, I stopped all creative writing – on reflection the demands of a fairly dry and technical degree exhausted me of creativity. Two decades on, I made a decision to start again. I started with small writing prompts, writing competitions – it all helped me find my flow again.  In 2017 I completed NaNoWriMo, and the result became my debut novel three years – several drafts, several round of beta readers and professional editing later.  During those years,  I also completed a creative writing course in Sydney, started going to writing festivals and joining online writing groups. 

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

That if you think you are, you are. If you want write, write. You don’t need to show anyone, and if you do, you don’t need to listen to everyone. If you enjoy writing, you are a writer.  I would encourage you to find your tribe – others you are comfortable reading your work in front off, get encouragement and advice from. 

What time of the day do you usually write?
Firstly, I have to admit, I can’t write at night.  If I sit still after a long day, well, my eyes get heavy, and productive writing from 5am till about 7am.  I try a routine of going to Crossfit classes every second morning at 5am, and write on the other.  This way I keep a good waking routine, as well as sleeping patterns!  That all said, I still need at least two coffers during that time to get the neurons and creativity firing.  As I work about an hour from home, if I am lucky enough to a seat on the bus, I might squeeze in a few more words on my commute. 

How do you do research for your books?
My first novel, Death Investor, featured many locations that I know well – technology parks, office spaces, pubs and fast-food restaurants. Of course, Google StreetView and the internet are an amazing tool to find the details that matter to the story.  
The novel I am writing currently, the sequel to Death Investor, draws significantly on the people and an industry exposure I had working in a company that focused on gas pipelines and energy. My story is complete fiction, but the people, stories, and industry news offer so many possibilities and criminal ideas! 

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I have a debut novel, Death Investor published (May 1, 2020) and in early stages of the sequel now. It’s working title is Pipeline of Death, and follows the police team, led by the main protagonist Detective Reid and Detective Kidman, in their investigation of the disappearance, and then murder, of a CEO of gas pipeline company. 
There are several stories planned in the Death series – at this point I would like to see Reid rise up to fill her true capabilities and power, though I am not sure where that would leave the older Detective Kidman. 

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
I really enjoy the side or minor characters; I had a lot of fun writing them. Queenie and Big Al were fun – I can visualise both them at a dingy pub right now in real life! In terms of depth, there is a lot more to be revealed through Reid, and a dark side to Kidman that never really made it into this story will be shown in future stories I am sure. 
The other police officer I enjoy is Jones – he is such a straight, by the book person, and he is based totally on a constable I knew whilst I worked at NSW Police in the early 2000’s. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
The overarching stories come from events in the media – corruption, murder, grudges – they are as old as life itself. The places and people come from my life – people I have worked with, met, friends with etc.  Details and specifics of a location are my direct memory of offices I have worked in – desk layouts, the old radio in the corner, computers that didn’t work – all of these are directly from places I have worked. I just make sure I don’t refer to them directly in the story to avoid trouble with work colleagues!!  

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Of course I had way of knowing at the time, but the technology that is described in the book is very similar to which governments around the world are asking the citizens to using to track their movements to manage their COVID-19 response.  This is a use I really didn’t contemplate. With so much at stake, striking the balance between privacy and public good is still no clearer.  

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
One street though, is a reference that I took from The Fatalist, by Campbell McConachie. It’s a dark true story of Australian multiple murderer Lindsey Rose. The author knew Rose from a local pub – the were mates, as you become with people see regularly at the pub in Australia. Years later, McConachie sees Rose on TV and his crimes are revealed.  So back to my story, I had a scene set in a particular suburb, was reading that book at the time, and included the street which Rose grew up in the story.
Also, I did name a character after a friend of my wife – not because he resembled him, but I liked his name.  I’d forgotten I did this, and when my wife read the story for the first time, I had some explaining to do!

Your story is set in Sydney, Australia. Why did you choose that as the setting for your book?
They say write what you know. I live in Sydney, and think it is a wonderful city full of wonderful attractions and people.  I love the Harbour Bridge, the harbour itself and the areas around the city. It’s no surprise these feature heavily in the story – the detectives drive around these areas, visit pubs and cafes, and the occasional car chase down the streets I know thrown in for good measure!

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
The mixture of business, privacy, personal history and corruption connections are the themes of Death Investor.  But today, especially, the relevance of technology and privacy is critical to public life, whether to monitor your thoughts interpreted from online activity, to monitoring your movements – whether they knowingly consent or not.  
In Death Investor, Peter Maher invents a program that tracks your movements based on freely available data on your phone, and the environment around you.  It’s very powerful – people don’t always to share the location, where they go, when they go, and how they see.  
Right now, during COVID-19 crisis, governments are rolling out software the remarkable similar to Peter’s to aid in virus contact tracking. The Singapore, UK and Australia all have plans – in fact Singapore has 20% of its population voluntarily reporting their location via a phone app.  This has huge positive benefits for COVID-19 control, and if not managed careful, huge negative consequences for societal privacy.   The core of Death Investor story is a murder investigation of the developer of the same software. 

Where can readers purchase your books?

It’s available from your usual online retailers:

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
The best place is   I will update any new book releases here, and I have a newsletter that you can subscribe to get a short stories, and other news and interesting articles. 

Would you rather…

Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?  Spiders.  I hate snakes.  Last weekend I rode my bike past a red belly black snake that was getting some morning sun.  It wriggled a little, not fussed.  I screamed blue murder and almost fell off the bike!
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter? Summer.  I love summer, and despise the cold.  
Would you rather only be able to have sex in a room full of bugs or no sex at all ever?  Bugs.  They are just bugs right?
Would you rather always be an hour early or be constantly twenty minutes late? Early. I have my phone, I can keep myself busy!
Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage? Cottage.  I scare too easily!

Share something fun or interesting
I have been to the last two Sydney BAD Writing Festival – it’s wrtiers festival focused crime. I love going to award night to see author whose books I have read and know about, hear the great speeches, and also, consistently, drink as many gin and tonics as my friends will endure!!😊   At the first year, I met Candice Fox at the end of the presentation night – I am big fan, and I am not sure what I said!

DEATH INVESTOR releases on 1st May, 2020. Don't miss out!


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