The charming Tim Ayliffe
Meet my August 1st victim, the charming Tim Ayliffe. Tim has been working as a journalist for more than 20 years and is currently the Managing Editor of Television and Video for ABC News. Before working at the ABC, he was based in London for British Sky News. A keen bike rider and surfer, Tim grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, home to some of Australia's most stellar writing talent.
But on top of his busy day job, Tim is also the talented author of three crime thrillers, and his latest offering The Enemy Within has just hit bookshelves https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Enemy-Within/Tim-Ayliffe/9781925640977
When I first started my Author Stalker blog, two years ago today, the top of each post would see a photo of me doing what I do best, stalking authors whom I admire. Alas, with Covid reeking havoc across our beautiful country, I have had to turn to virtual stalking and hence a lot of recent posts contain photos of the authors alone.
Noticing that a lot of posts had a photo of my victim and me, Tim kindly offered to meet up for a photo op. Luckily at the time, we were all out an about, and going to restaurants was actually a thing! Hopefully we will all be out again soon.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tim, along with fellow Northern Beaches Readers Festival (NBRF) https://www.nbrf.com.au/ committee members, Claudine Tinellis & Sandie Docker, back in June of this year. The photo is further down the post as when blown up it was a tad grainy but Tim's generosity in travelling from his home on the other side of Sydney, for my little ol' blog, didn't go unnoticed.
Readers were first introduced to gutsy journo John Bailey in Tim's 2018 debut The Greater Good https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Greater-Good/Tim-Ayliffe/9781925640939 but it was the opening pages of his 2020 release, the riveting State of Fear, that had me glued to my seat. https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/State-of-Fear/Tim-Ayliffe/9781925640946
I have spent most of this weekend with my nose buried in the pages of The Enemy Within, which is another fabulous read, so without further ado I will hand you over to Tim so I can race off to finish it.xx
Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?
A: Take more time to think about the plot. Some writers start writing a novel with no real plan for where they’re going, letting the plot unfold as they write it. That doesn’t work for me. I like to know where I’m going and why. I never plan an entire book but I need to know the general arc, which most often includes the ending. The only times I’ve gotten myself in trouble and ended up deleting tens of thousands of words is when I have written too quickly without properly considered the plot.
Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?
A: The Poet by Michael Connelly https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/fiction/crime-mystery/The-Poet-Michael-Connelly-9781760113247 Brilliant plot, clever surprises, great characters, and places that become characters too. He’s the master.
'Writing at the kitchen bench. I don't have a writing space at the moment as I lost our study to my daughter so she could have her own room. Building a study/ poolhouse in the backyard so hopefully I'll have a nice quiet space again soon! But I can write anywhere so it's not a huge problem.'
Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?
A: I can’t remember the first book that made me cry but I can remember the last - The Road by Cormack McCarthy https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-road-cormac-mccarthy/book/9780330468466.html
I have a 9 year-old son and I couldn’t help thinking about holding his hand and walking that road in McCarthy’s apocalyptic world. The conversations with the father and son were haunting and very real for me.
Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…
A: Coffee in the morning. Red wine in the evening, usually shiraz.
(Oops I botched my Author Stalker teaser as I wrote surf and pinot...as that's what you drank when we met with Claudine & Sandie for the photo...should have been surf and shiraz! Never assume Shelley, never assume! Shelley.xx)
Nothing like a bit of Author Stalking! Shame the pic is a little grainy or I would have popped it up the top of the post.
Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?
A: The Second Son by Loraine Peck https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/the-second-son
Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?
A: I’ve always thought Russell Crowe would make a good John Bailey. I’m also a huge fan of Richard Roxburgh and David Wenham. There are so many great Australian actors! And Toni Collette for Sharon Dexter.
(Russell would make a fabulous John Bailey. Shelley.xx)
Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?
A: Exercise. I go crazy without it. Usually, surfing or cycling. Exercise clears my head to the point where I actually often solve plot issues while out riding my bike. I’ve been known to pull over on the side of the road so that I can take some notes on my phone.
'I love this book case in our hallway. And the handmade glass light next to it in the ceiling is special to me as it was hanging in my great grandmothers house more than 100 years ago.'
(Wow that bookcase is stunning...love the curved lines. And how precious to have your great grandmother's light in your home. I am now wishing I saved one of my late grandmother's lights. Shelley.xx)
Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?
A: I want to get in a campervan with my family and drive around New Zealand. The kids are at the perfect age for a road trip but the pandemic is making it a little difficult to plan.
Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?
A: A police officer. I think detectives and journalists share similar traits – curiosity and a sense of justice.
Meeting the lovely Tim with fellow writers and NBRF committee members Sandie Docker and Claudine Tinellis
Q10: Name one novel you would recommend?
A: I’m going to pick two Australian authors here. Hades by Candice Fox https://www.penguin.com.au/books/hades-9780143789840
and The Suspect by Michael Robotham https://www.hachette.com.au/michael-robotham/the-suspect They are both at the top of their games now but they literally burst out of the gates with their debuts. Well worth going back to read.
(Agree 100%. They are both brilliant writers. Shelley.xx)
'Like Michael Connelly’s Bosch, former war correspondent John Bailey will risk everything to get to the truth – and expose a deadly enemy.
He heard a voice, someone calling out in the distance, followed by a loud fluttering of birds. Bailey looked up just in time to see a body falling from the sky ...
Investigative journalist John Bailey is doing his best to turn his life around after losing the woman he loved. He has a new job. He’s given up the drink. He even has a dog.
But then Federal Police raid his home with a warrant granting them unprecedented powers to take anything they want, including all his electronic devices and passwords. When Bailey protests, they threaten to put him in a prison cell.
Someone wants to stop Bailey doing what he does best – exposing the truth. He has been investigating the rise of a global white supremacist group and suspects that a notorious neo-Nazi in the United States has been directing deadly racist attacks on Sydney’s streets.
When the body of one of his key sources washes up on a nearby beach, it’s clear Bailey and anyone helping him have become targets. Bailey reaches out to a ruthless old friend – CIA veteran, Ronnie Johnson – to lure the enemy from the shadows.
An enemy who thought they were untouchable. Until now …'
'A cracking yarn told at breakneck speed. I couldn't put it down.' Chris Hammer
‘Sharp, gritty, sophisticated. Ayliffe’s criminal world is terrifyingly real.’ Candice Fox
Thank you Tim for being my August 1st Author Stalker victim. xx
The Enemy Within is available through bookstores and online.
If you would like to find out more about Tim, you can find him here: