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Author Chat: Kellie M Cox

I am so very excited to have my dear friend and fellow writer Kellie M Cox as a guest here on my blog. I met Kellie in 2018 at a Gold Coast Writers Association meeting, and I have treasured her friendship and our shared love for writing ever since. Kellie has just published her debut novel, Murderous Intent, just in time for Christmas.

Kellie

Kellie Cox is an Australian writer indulging her love of fiction and prose. With qualifications in psychology, she relishes writing about the human condition and the vulnerability of the psyche. A therapist, clinical trainer, creative coach and conservationist, she enjoys a dream life on the beautiful Gold Coast.

Most days Kellie can be found working with artists in the creative industries or writing her novels. When not writing, Kellie will most likely be saturating her social media with photos of her two adorable pups.

 

Books already released:

MURDEROUS INTENT

Where to find you:

www.kelliemcox.com

What got you interested in writing?

I have always been an avid reader, so I guess the progression to writing came naturally. My first book, THE LIST started life as a therapeutic tool. I had for several nights had a dream that someone implanted a shark tracking device in my right shoulder. To get the dream out of my thoughts, I started writing it down and that turned into a 70,000 word fiction story.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in 2015 when I wrote THE LIST which was followed by book 2 from that storyline, THE REEF.

Do you have any goals/projects in the pipeline?

I would love for MURDEROUS INTENT to be made into a movie. It was created with a screen adaptation in mind, a small interwoven cast of characters and gorgeous beachside locations.

In addition, three more fiction books are scheduled for publication in 2020. THE LIST and THE REEF, both romance suspense with a shark conservation twist to it and THE LAST FIRST KISS, a story about soulmates set across the globe. I love this one as I have included many of my favourite travel destinations in it.

What do you like most about writing?

So many things. It is the creation of the characters, their strengths, their flaws and the dynamics between them all. I am often inspired by a setting or location and then create a story to fit into a place in the world that has moved me.

What genre do you write?

I am a multi-genre author. I have written psychological thriller, romance, horror, suspense, poetry, prose, short stories, fantasy, travel blogs, Australiana and non-fiction.

What draws you to this genre?

I like to explore different story lines and challenge myself to see what I can produce. I can tell you what I probably have no skill in writing, that is Western. I can’t see myself writing western and I also think crime would be difficult, but let’s see what happens a few years down the track.

Where do you get your ideas?

Travelling and I am fortunate to meet so many people through my clinical and creative work who inspire me. My friends quite often want to be characters in my books so I sometimes put little bits of them in there.

Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?

I honestly have no answer for you on process. I am not technically trained, so I don’t have a process. Maybe, that is something I should work on. At the moment, I open my laptop and type and I can honestly say I have no idea what line is coming next. The words are just created somewhere between my brain and the fingers that pound the keyboard. I wish I had a more technical answer for you.

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, my son has pitched me a horror story about a single middle aged woman, so socially awkward that she has grown emotionally dependent on her huge German Shepherd dog. As the story goes on, the dog begins to hunt at night and kill for her. Yes, he was inspired by my own life for his story, very tongue in cheek as he pitched it to me. Well, that story has just started and we will see if it goes anywhere.

Also just started a horror story called, THE BOWERBIRD. It is so incredibly scary it is actually fun to write. I was inspired to start this after a night in a beach shack on a dark and quiet island.

Which writers inspire/influence you?

I enjoy the emotional vulnerability of creative souls, so I enjoy reading Hemingway. A Moveable Feast is my favourite. I read it as I wander the streets of Paris, following his journey. I also love Elizabeth Gilbert for her depiction of raw human struggles. I read constantly and it helps with my own writing immensely.

What else about your writing journey should we know?

I am always open to collaborations, so get in touch if you have something in mind that you think we could work on together. Planning a writing retreat in Europe middle of 2020 and would enjoy connecting with writers and authors from around the world.

Excerpt from MURDEROUS INTENT:

I know he is going to kill me.
It is three o’clock on a chilly spring morning. I could walk around the house checking the doors are locked to no avail. He will not be that obvious but he will find a way to enter. I can’t remember the exact details of the nightmare that woke me this day, although the words I heard in my dream tell me everything I need to know. He is close.

He may not be inside the house, he may be just metres away. He is nearby and he won’t stop until my eyes are closed, the last stains of my breath have touched my lips, and my body is limp and exhausted. He will marvel at his handiwork. The fact that he accomplished the unimaginable – that he finally ended my life.

He was close tonight, somehow confirming the exact location of my latest hideaway. He may have been just outside checking entry and exit points. Possibly even inside the house standing over me, watching me rest, his murderous intent the sole reason for my rude awakening from the latest instalment of visions of terror in my dreams.

He is nearby and narrowing in on his target.

I rise from my bed, and splash my face with water to freshen my red eyes, then crawl back onto the mattress, shaking. The warm covers do nothing to stop my body from convulsing as the tears roll down my face. No comfort will hinder the flow now as I realise the enormity of the message sent to me in my slumber.

He will find me. He will not give up. He needs to hurt me to feel complete. He will kill me. The last face I will ever see will be his, and there is no one in the world that can prevent this from happening.

Murderous Intent.jpg

 

MURDEROUS INTENT is now available at www.kelliemcox.com

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The Rocky Road Trip Concludes!

After six hours and over 500 kilometers worth of driving, passing through Gympie, Tiaro, Childers, Gin Gin and Miriam Vale, we finally reached the city of Rockhampton, on Queensland’s Central Coast.

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Customs House, Rockhampton

 

The estimated urban population of Rockhampton in June 2015 was 80,665, making it the fourth-largest city in the state outside of the cities of South East Queensland, and the 22nd-largest city in Australia.

Rockhampton is one of the oldest cities in Queensland and Northern Australia. In 1853, Charles and William Archer discovered the Fitzroy River, which they named in honour of Sir Charles FitzRoy. The Archer brothers took up a run near Gracemere in 1855, and more settlers arrived soon after, enticed by the fertile valleys. The town of Rockhampton was proclaimed in 1858, and surveyed by Arthur F Wood and Francis Clarke, the chosen street design closely resembled the Hoddle Grid in Melbourne and consisted of a grid of wide boulevards and laneways, which was uncommon in Queensland.

Within the year, gold was found at Canoona, and led to the first North Australian gold rush. This led to an influx of migrants who quickly transformed Rockhampton into the second-largest port in the state; during this period, Rockhampton was nicknamed as the “City of the Three S’s”, of which were “Sin, Sweat, and Sorrow”. Subsequent gold rushes at Mount Morgan Mine, which was at the time one of the most productive gold mines in the world, laid the foundations for much of the city’s Victorian architecture.

 

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Customs House by Night

 

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Old National Bank building, now the home of Riverston Tea Rooms

 

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Fountain at Riverside Boardwalk

Today, Rockhampton is the industrial and agricultural centre of the north, and is the regional centre of Central Queensland. Rockhampton is also a large tourist destination known for its history and culture supporting such institutions as the Rockhampton Art Gallery, one of the most extensive regional galleries in Australia, the Central Queensland University with campuses across five states, the Rockhampton Heritage Village, and Dreamtime Cultural Centre. It is also famous as the hometown of Rod Laver – one of history’s best tennis players. The city acts as a gateway to local tourist locations such as the Capricorn Caves and Mount Archer National Park, as well as regional tourist areas like Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast alongside the island chains offshore that include Great Keppel Island.

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Banyan Fig Trees, Rockhampton Boardwalk precinct

The cattle trade is a dominant industry in Central Queensland, and has been visually represented around Rockhampton City with a set of seven large statues of bulls known as the ‘Big Bulls’.

The Central Queensland Livestock Exchange at Gracemere is one of the largest livestock sales facilities in the country, lies just to the west of the city.

Rockhampton promotes itself as the Beef Capital of Australia, but the title has been disputed a number of times by the New South Wales town of Casino. The tri-annual Beef Australia Expo held in the city is a celebration of the local area’s cattle industry.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Rockhampton on 15 March 1954, and Princess Alexandra visited Rockhampton on 1 September 1959.

Karl Stefanovic, former Rocky WIN News reporter, has gone a long way since his days as a young journalist in the Beef Capital. Karl, who is now a co-host of Nine Network’s Today show, lived in Rockhampton after completing his university degree. Christine Anu,  17 time ARIA nominated pop singer and actress who gained popularity with the cover song release of the Warumpi Band’s famous song “My ISland Home”, spent all her high school years here.

Since European settlement, Rockhampton has experienced shaking associated with several earthquakes, in 1883, 1918 and 2016. The region has also experienced meteorite sightings- on 2 August 1903, many people in Rockhampton reported seeing a meteorite. Between eight and ten minutes after the meteorite was observed in the sky, a loud boom was heard which shook houses, rattled tin roofs and moved telegraph wires.

On the night of 31 October 2016, Central Queensland residents, including in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Gladstone, reported seeing a bright orange light in the sky. Many residents in the Gladstone area south of Rockhampton, particularly those living in the Boyne Island and Tannum Sands areas, reported hearing a loud boom soon after. Despite the light also being observed in Rockhampton, there were no reports of the boom being heard there, unlike in 1903. Experts including astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, Astro Space News editor Dave Reneke and private astronomer Owen Bennedick all concluded that a meteorite had crashed to earth near Gladstone.

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Flood gauge, Fitzroy River

 

 

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Fitzroy River at dusk 

Rockhampton wasn’t quite the end of our road. We still had another forty minutes and forty kilometers to drive northeast, to the seaside township of Yeppoon.

Yeppoon is the principal town on the Capricorn Coast, a string of seaside communities stretching more than 150 kilometres (93 mi) from north to south. The beaches and shallow coves provide a destination both for tourists and miners settling down in Central Queensland. Offshore, there are 27 islands including Great Keppel Island, which is 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Yeppoon. Yeppoon is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

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Main Beach, Yeppoon

 

The Capricorn Coast was part of the traditional lands of the Darumbal Aboriginal people. Yeppoon was first settled by the Ross family in 1865 who took up large landholding along the length of the Capricorn Coast. Fruit crops, cattle, and wool were the major industries of the early town. A short-lived period of sugar cane growing followed from 1883 to 1903, which failed due to unseasonal rains and lack of financial backing. Along with other sugar growing areas of Australia, South Sea Islanders were used as labourers on the sugar plantations, often without their consent, an activity known as blackbirding. Pineapples, mangoes and other tropical fruit became the mainstay of local agriculture in the new century, with cattle grazing and fishing also contributing to the local economy.

On 20 February 2015, severe tropical cyclone Marcia crossed the Capricorn Coast near Shoalwater Bay as a category 5 Cyclone. The storm destroyed more than 150 houses in Yeppoon and left more than 13,500 residents without power.

Yeppoon will host the inaugural Capricorn Coast Writer’s Festival in May-June 2019.

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Well, I’ve reached Yeppoon, where my new life begins. I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along for the ride on my Rocky Road Trip blog series. Keep an eye out for my upcoming blog series Books By The Beach Series 2, which will take off right here in Yeppoon, and in which I will be bringing all the beautiful beaches of the Capricorn Coast straight to your screen, with a literary touch.

I hope you’ll join me then!

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Rocky Road Trip Stops 4 & 5: Gin Gin & Miriam Vale

We pulled off the Bruce Highway at Gin Gin, approximately 51 kilometres (32 mi) west of Bundaberg and halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.

Our stop was fairly short and uneventful, except for our chance meeting with some intriguing fellow road-trippers. This was their mode of travel.

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With a a population of approximately 1,190 people, the town name has sometimes been said to derive from a local Aboriginal word indicating “red soil thick scrub”. It is also possible the name comes from the Western Australian locality of Gingin. 

British occupation of the region began in 1848 when Gregory Blaxland Jnr (son of the explorer Gregory Blaxland) together with William Forster brought their flocks of sheep up from their squatting leases on the Clarence River. The area they selected extended all the way to the coast and they called it Tirroan. Strong resistance from the local Aboriginal people was encountered resulting in the death of several shepherds and the killing of Blaxland in August 1850. Two large massacres of Aboriginals were conducted by local squatters and their stockmen as punitive measures to these deaths.

The Gin Gin district is nicknamed Wild Scotsman Country due to the capture of one of Queensland’s few bushrangers, James Alpin McPherson, in the area on 30 March 1866. McPherson, who went by the same nickname, was captured at Monduran Station, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of town.

We left the Bundaberg Region behind and entered the Gladstone Region, and the population plummeted as we entered Miriam Vale, rural town of approximately 512 people.

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Historical Queenslander style house now home to Lifeline charity store

 

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Rainbow captured above Miriam Vale

Miriam Vale is renowned as a traditional cattle growing area, and also supports timber, beef and dairy cattle. Tourism is an emerging industry within the shire and the town is a gateway to the tourist resorts of Agnes Water and Town of 1770. Miram Vale is on the North Coast railway line and is serviced by the Miriam Vale railway station.

In the 1970s signs at the entry to town proudly proclaimed “Welcome to Miriam Vale – Cattle, Tobacco, Timber and Dairy”. The tobacco industry faded in the late 1970s followed by the dairy industry in the 1990s.

A car rally passed through Miriam Vale in 1924; the stretch of road between Miriam Vale and Gin Gin was said to the roughest of the rally.

Across House Creek there is also evidence of an old speed way ground (circa 1970s) and if you look around the district you can find history in old horse race tracks.

Miriam Vale has a nine-hole golf course with small greens and mature gum trees. At times in its history the course was stretched to twelve holes but the members and district could not sustain the extra work needed to keep these holes open.

We’re nearly there! Next stop- YEPPOON!