Crime writer, TV presenter, brand ambassador for Jacqui E, goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and now UNICEF Patron for Breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in Australia – Tara Moss is a modern-day superwoman, and her books are mega-sellers.
Assassin is the last and latest in Tara's Makedde Vanderwall series – a series that has sold over half a million copies in Australia alone. The series is available in 18 countries and 12 languages, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, UK, France, Russia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Brazil, Australia and NZ. These dark and glamorous crime thrillers feature one of the most iconic heroines in Australian crime fiction, model-turned-PI Makedde Vanderwall. Mak is a huge favourite with readers, and Tara became the top-selling crime writer in Australia for several years running. Now, after a few years' break, Mak is back. And this time she's ready to make her own justice.
Former model turned forensic psychologist and PI Mak Vanderwall is missing, presumed dead in Paris. By hiring a hit man to kill her, the powerful and corrupt Cavanagh family aimed to silence her for good. But after narrowly escaping death, Mak has taken over her would-be killer′s world.
She is very much alive.
Back in Sydney Mak′s former flame, criminal profiler Andy Flynn is on the trail of a vicious rapist and murderer with possible ties to the infamous ′Stiletto Killer′. He may have struck before and will certainly do so again. And while Andy struggles to cope in a world without Mak, little does he realise she is on her way back. And this time she′s ready to make her own justice.
Tara Moss famously takes her research for her books to extreme levels, qualifying as a private investigator as well as being both choked to unconsciousness and set on fire in a quest for authenticity. She is also involved with a number of charities and is a supporter of the Stella Prize, a new literary award for women writers in Australia.
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Tara Moss
Interview with Tara Moss
Question: What inspired the story of Assassin?
Tara Moss: Assassin is the 6th and final novel in the Mak Vanderwall thriller series, and all the previous novels have been leading towards these events. Mak finds herself wanted and on the run, having to make her own justice. She finds out just how far she will go for survival. The people who want her dead are very powerful, wealthy and corrupt, dnd I wanted to use that corruption and greed as a theme. What do you do when someone is so powerful they are beyond the law? How far would you go to protect yourself and avenge your loved ones?
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing in the crime genre?
Tara Moss: I enjoy the suspense and high stakes of crime stories, and as a writer, the hands on research fascinates me. There are many incredible stories to be told about strong survivors and investigators. Unfortunately, crime affects people's lives every day, so we will always need smart investigators and survivors like Mak, who never give up.
Question: Can you talk about the research involved in the Makedde Vanderwall series?
Tara Moss: I travelled to Spain and lived there for a couple of months while I wrote the Spanish scenes, and I was also privileged to spend time with the Homicide Squad and Unsolved Squad in NSW, and various other professionals and investigators I can't name because they would prefer to remain anonymous. I also researched at Glebe 'city' morgue and St Vincent's Hospital, both of which feature in Assassin. The staff were extremely helpful and the research was fascinating, as always.
Question: How does your private investigator qualifications make it easier to write the Makedde Vanderwall series?
Tara Moss: When Mak became a PI I needed to as well. I understand the work and how investigators approach cases. I've been on surveillance on cases and learned about the laws PI's have to work within. Basically I will do anything I can to make my novels authentic - short of murder, of course.
Question: How do you find time, in your schedule, to write? Do you set daily writing goals?
Tara Moss: My work schedule revolves around writing and everything else needs to fit in with that writing time. It is my passion but also my living and the way I support my family. I'm lucky to be able to do what I love for a living. I aim to write about 1000 words a day, on average, and when I am on a tough novel deadline I will write 2000-4000 words a day, which can mean I am at the computer from sunrise until I fall asleep at night. That is very tough and rather unhealthy. Even as I write this I am wearing wrist splints for the carpal tunnel I have earned from writing two novels back to back. (I wouldn't recommend it.)
Interview by Brooke Hunter