In my career as an artist, I traveled extensively. Fine art paintings take weeks to complete, and people would watch me work and tell me the history of the area, as in the family history, especially the dirty laundry. The owner manager of a resort island told me of how his grandfather brought four hundred Aboriginals to the island to clear the rainforest. He shipped the timber to mainland Australia and sold it. Once the island was cleared, ready for the construction of the resort, and it was time to pay off his workforce and return them to the mainland, he found a cheaper way out, with a shotgun. If I occasionally write horror in my Australian stories, you now know where it came from.
I finally sat down to write novels, after fifty-years of painting and travel writing. By then, my head was filled with horror stories, from how British settlers forced the local Australian aboriginals to leap to their death of the cliff tops at Elliston, South Australia, through to family oral histories of the near total genocide of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people by the British settlers. The information I learned came from the grandchildren of those who committed massacres and from the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who were almost hunted to death.
Along with that, I've had the fun of living a simple lifestyle with bush and outback people, living close to nature. I've spruced myself up to look the part to be shown around sophisticated cities in the US and luxurious tropical island resorts. I've barely touched on the stories that I want to write.
Forty-five years ago I wrote books about breastfeeding. Whatever interests me at the time is what I write about, and it all comes from personal experience out of the job I'm doing at the time.
I've had my experiences with crocodiles and kangaroos. A crocodile stole my hat; one moment my husband was holding it, and then... I've been assaulted by a randy old male. Ladies don't go near a boomer, the large stud male kangaroo, at 'that' time of the month. I ran for the car, got in. He chased me and climbed in on top of me with a wild look in his eyes, and his claws holding my shoulders. He paused. I think at that point he couldn't work out what to do next. I remembered that I had dried apricots, so I stretched out my free hand and opened the glove box. He decided whatever was in that glove compartment smelt better than me and let me go. Grabbing the bag of dried fruit, he bounded away with his stolen gain in his front claws.
It hasn't been the up close, too close, experiences of flood and fire, that's occasionally brought out the noir in my writing, it has been times, such as when you are enjoying the solitude of driving along a dark country road, hundreds of miles from the nearest town, and outside of mobile phone contact range, and you realise that you have driven into a churning. leaping wild...hell. Have you ever been foolish enough to drive into the middle of a mouse plague? Millions of mice, seen as far as the high-beam headlights illuminated the road, raced in circles, climbing on top of each other. Please God, don't let a tyre blow for the next five hundred miles.
Most of my stories have come out of my life, and my work.
Stories of crime, mystery, suspense, coming-of-age, love and Australia by Ryn Shell on iBooks, Kobo, Nook and Amazon.