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Sink-or-swim makes author


Eight-time published author Wendy James didn’t know if she had what it took until she was forced, for want of a better word, to write.

In her early career days, James wanted to do something “useful”, so she tried nursing.

It wasn’t for her, so she enrolled in a creative writing course at Sydney university.

Suddenly, she found herself in a sink-or-swim scenario, having to write short stories for assignments.

“It turned out I wasn’t half bad at it,” James told Newcastle Weekly.

Before long, her short stories were being published and she won the university’s creative writing competition two years in a row.

In 2005, James published her first novel, Out of the Silence, while on the long road to finishing her PhD. It won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel.

Fast-forward 14 years, and the revered crime and literary fiction author from Cooks Hill has released her eighth novel, titled The Accusation.

Her most recent title before that, The Golden Child – set in Newcastle, is in development for a FOX series.

While James’ journey seems linear, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Self-belief has played a pivotal role in her success – a concept she will discuss at the inaugural Write Here! writers’ festival in Lake Macquarie this weekend.

James has been invited to be part of the exciting program at Toronto Library, including a conversation with journalist Scott Bevan and a panel exploring fact in crime fiction.

Joining her will be New York Times bestselling crime author Candice Fox, young adult novelist Kaz Delaney and thriller writer Jaye Ford, among others.

There will be zine-writing workshops as well as a creative Writing Gym session, hosted by Hunter Writers’ Centre director Karen Crofts.

James added these affordable workshops and talks were vital in showing aspiring writers, who might be on the very cusp she was all those years ago, that they already have it within them to become an author.

“It’s that old saying: 1% talent and 99% perspiration, and you won’t know if you don’t try,” she said.

Go to library.lakemac.com.au/write-here!-festival for more information and a full event program.

Cost is a gold coin per session or $8 for the day, paid on arrival (workshops extra).

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