The incredibly talented & hysterically funny Candice Fox
Spare a thought for my August 15th Author Stalker victim, the incredibly talented and hysterically funny Candice Fox, who is currently in Sydney 'locked down with a 2-year-old and a deadline.'
I had the pleasure of hearing the quick-witted Candice speak at 2019's StoryFest, held in Milton on the NSW south coast, back in the day when we could travel and writers festivals were able to happen. She had the audience in stitches regaling us with tales from her unconventional childhood, living in her home in Sydney's western suburbs which over the years she shared with over one hundred & fifty 'foster siblings.'
'Candice is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney’s western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil from the cops and childcare authorities who frequented her home.'
Candice's homelife was perfect fodder for her future career as a best-selling crime writer, the second author ever to win back to back Ned Kelly Awards in 2014/2015. Every December included the annual Christmas party at Long Bay Jail, as her dad was a parole officer. In one interview she was quoted as saying 'The food was prepared by the inmates, who were then put in lockdown for the night. Then the kids would go on tour where they saw the exercise yard, the mental ward, inmates in their cells, and collections of confiscated shivs. I'm sure they’ve stopped doing that by now, though…'
At one time her mum was corresponding with 20 different prison inmates and her dad often left copies of his industry mags lying around. At the age of 7 she read a true crime book, called Killer Kids...and the crime writer was born.
Walking up to, and striking up a conversation with, crime-writing powerhouse James Patterson at a publishing industry event in 2015 saw the beginnings of a series of writing collaborations. As Candice tells it, her publisher slipped a copy of her 2014 release Hades https://www.penguin.com.au/books/hades-9780143789840 into James' goody bag and he read it on his flight back to the US. The rest is history. Their upcoming release is 2 Sisters Detective Agency, out on September 28th. https://www.penguin.com.au/books/2-sisters-detective-agency-9781760898113
But it was Candice's solo March 2021 release, The Chase https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-chase-9781760896799
that turned me into a hard-core Fox fan. The pace of this book is insane and such a fabulous premise. This coming from a writer who takes research to the next level, spending hours of her honeymoon, locked in a cage, knee to knee with serial killer Lawrence Bittaker https://theworldnews.net/au-news/i-was-trapped-in-a-cage-with-a-killer
Candice recently found herself ‘on the run,’ resplendant in a pair of orange prison overalls, during her #foxhunt promo tour, running around a variety of Sydney's QBD bookstores. You can check out some photos later in the post and scroll back through her Facebook feed to follow the hilarity!
Her breathtaking honesty and candour at festivals and online is so refreshing.
As we speak, production is underway in Queenland on the ABC's highly anticipated new eight part crime series, called Troppo, which is based on Candice's 2017 bestselling novel . https://www.penguin.com.au/books/gathering-dark-9781761041877
I could go on and on, there are SO many fascinating facts I could share with you. But without further ado I will hand you over to the fabulous Candice.xx
Q1:What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?
A: Keep the pace moving. Too much description of physical environments and people’s appearances is all well and good but the reader wants to know what is actually being said and done and they don’t have four pages to listen to you go on and on about what a city looks like, Candice. And when you’re editing, the word count should fall, not increase (for you in particular).
Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?
A: The Force by Don Winslow. I really, really loved that book but would have done different things with the ending. https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460753545/the-force/
'Here’s a pic of my desk today. Note knitting and crochet stuff, egg timer
for writing sprints. Mess underneath from Violet playing cooking
school under my desk.'
Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?
A: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley https://www.penguin.com.au/books/frankenstein-9780241425121
I really felt the monster’s longing to be a part of something and his deep melancholy that he could not. That stark realisation, it hit him and me hard. He would always have to live on the outer. A freak. And there was a powerlessness in him when he realised that.
Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…
A: To wind up: coffee. I’m not a snob about it. Filter, espresso, instant, I don’t care. Three a day minimum.
To wine down: red wine. Something heavy.
Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?
A: I’m reading Every Dead Thing by John Connolly for a podcast. https://www.johnconnollybooks.com/every-dead-thing
I read it years and years ago, before I was published, and loved it. It was a huge motivator for me to turn my writing over from supernatural to crime, because it’s a good blend of both.
'My Uber driver has said absolutely nothing about the prison garb. As far as he knows I'm just a busy convict on her way to her first day in the can. I am actually headed somewhere right now that I FORGOT to add to the list earlier. Here's the CLUE for this QBD bookstore, which I will appear at around 9:10am:
It's not Carrie, Charlotte or Samantha...'
Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?
A: This is a really hard question for me, because I will actually have actors playing characters of mine, and I’d hate for someone assigned to a role in one of my adaptations to read I’d have preferred someone else! So I’ll issue a polite ‘no comment’ on this one, if I may!
Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?
A: GPS navigation on my phone. It’s a godsend for someone like me, who had no sense of direction and no real ability to remember how to get places.
The adorable Noggy
Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?
A: I haven’t been to Italy yet, so I’m definitely putting that on my go-to list. I love middle eastern food, too, so… Ok now I’m actually just sitting here thinking about all the food destinations I’d like to visit. I’ll go anywhere there’s good food.
Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?
A: Kindergarten teacher. I like arts and crafts, storytelling, singing and little kids, and I’ve done some kindergarten teaching in my life, so I think I would pursue that again. Having a daughter of my own has opened up all those lovely memories of tiny children stepping into the big, exciting world of schooling for the first time and what a magical experience that can be.
'Noggy's mighty displeased with her lockdown haircut.
I left the head big for comedic purposes.'
Q10: What's the hardest scene you have ever written and why was it so hard?
A: I had an awful lot of trouble beginning Gathering Dark https://www.penguin.com.au/books/gathering-dark-9781761041877
I was pregnant and my brain was just broken, I think. I knew I wanted to start that first scene with Blair in the gas station in Korea Town, but for some reason I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I wrote the same scene five times, which is just something I don’t ever do. If a scene’s not working I usually cut it.
I just started too early – started the scene while everything was fine and danger was about to happen, and in the end I went right to the danger. I cut the bullshit, basically, and upped the stakes. I had to remind myself that when new readers are starting a book those first couple of lines are critical – there must be a hook, everything can’t be ‘fine’. And I had to figure out what I was trying to ‘say’ with this scene and the book in general.
I was trying to say: You’re in for a wild ride, here. Strap in. So there needed to be a question, a problem, something to care about. Something dangerous. So I began with the gun in Blair’s face, line one. No beating around the bush.
'‘Are you listening, Warden?’
‘What do you want?’
‘I want you to let them out.’
‘Which inmates are we talking about?’
‘All of them.’
When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.
But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.
He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing down the escapees.
Death row supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading . . .'
The new novel by New York Times #1 bestselling author Candice Fox is an electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller set in the Nevada desert.
Candice Fox has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as 'one of Australia’s finest new gen crime writers' and her latest novel is another thrilling ride, as a mass prison breakout lets loose 650 of the country's most dangerous prisoners.
'Candice Fox's new book further cements her position as one of the world's most original thriller writers . . . I was blown away by the clever twists and quirky characters, all overlaid with Fox's characteristic dark humour.' Reader's Digest
'Her most assured solo crime novel to date and it is masterful.' Sydney Morning Herald
'An action-packed, constantly surprising, suspenseful read and this reviewer found it hard to put down.' Herald Sun
Thank you Candice for being my August 15th Author Stalker victim. xx
The Chase is available through bookstores and online.
If you would like to find out more about Candice, you can find her here: