Scoops and scandals good fodder for authors

BACK-DOOR  politics, show-business secrets and the underbellies of Australian cosmopolitan lifestyles make good fodder for authors to fuel their imaginations.

Fraser Coast authors Toni McRae and TJ Hamilton, who have experienced the sordid sides of Sydney’s crime and prostitution rings and the nation’s top level governments, will be at the USQ Creative Writing on Country workshop launch during the Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough today, Sunday July 6.

Ms McRae is a multi-award-winning Australian print and broadcast journalist who has also spent some of her working career in Israel, Europe, Iran and New Zealand.  In four decades she has covered the biggest stories for local and international newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. She now lives locally where until 2011 she was the Fraser Coast Chronicle’s chief reporter.

“Remember the scandals of the Whitlam government era of the 1970s?” Ms McRae asked.

“I was at the coalface of government politics at that time and headlined some of the personal affairs that were happening that helped bring down Gough Whitlam’s government but not one journalist, or author, or television writer outside that Melbourne bar clique, has ever asked me for the truth to those stories – except for Ellen Fanning, 28 years after it all happened. Finally one journo had the ethics – and good old fashioned media nose – to do so. I applaud that genre of journalism.”

Ms McRae has written about these scoops and many other noteworthy scandals, including her own, in her autobiography titled Expose: Scandals, Stars and Scoops. Her book is now out of print but those attending the USQ event this Sunday can win one of the last copies available.

TJ Hamilton profile_b

TJ Hamilton (pictured) joins Toni McRae and other Fraser Coast authors at the Creative Writing on Country launch.

Joining Ms McRae at the Mary Poppins Festival event this Sunday will be TJ Hamilton, a former Sydney police officer and now author of the Thyme Trilogy – Buying Thyme, Making Thyme and Keeping Thyme.

The trilogy has made the best sellers lists on Amazon and iBooks with the third landing her a position on the USA Today best sellers list.

TJ, who holds a Bachelor of Criminology, said her love of crime and mystery started at an early age after she read her first Agatha Christie novel at the age of nine.

“My fascination with the seedier side to life came about through a room-mate from my early 20s who was a high-class escort. I developed a close understanding of those ‘ladies of the night’ and loved the stories they told – most of whom I have remained friends with to this day.”

In her trilogy, TJ turns her experiences as a Sydney police officer into sexy stories of mystery and intrigue.

Her books will be available at the Creative Writing on Country workshop launch at USQHub@Maryborough, 38 Sussex Street, this Sunday between 10am and noon. One lucky door winner will take home one of TJ’s books free. The books are also available in eBook format.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said anyone interested in creative writing of any genre was invited to meet Ms McRae, TJ Hamilton and other local authors including Keith McArdle, Lincoln Bertoli and Linda Downing at the event.

Visitors can hear about USQ’s new Creative Writing on Country workshop planned for the Labour Day long weekend from October 4 to 6, plus details of a writing competition with a prize valued at $550.

Attending the workshop launch, which starts at 11am, will also be USQ’s own international award-winning author, Dr Nike Sulway.

The USQ Creative Writing lecturer has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for excellence in Australian science fiction writing and has won a James Tiptree Junior Award, an international award that recognises the best works of science fiction and fantasy that explore the concept of gender.

This exciting Creative Writing on Country workshop initiative is aimed at helping local writers build their literary skills and to inspire them to have their stories published.

Photos: Fraser Coast people can meet local authors Toni McRae and TJ Hamilton at the USQ Creative Writing on Country workshop launch this Sunday.
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