This episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer T.W. Lawless.
Check out our discussion of his Peter Clancy series … and more!
Transcript now available in PDF.
Debbi: Hi everyone. My final guest for this season, although actually I'm planning to do a kind of an additional episode after this. It'll be a bonus for people who are patrons on Patreon if you'd like to see it. I'm going to talk about my plans for the podcast because this is the end of my eighth season so it's just amazing to me that it's gone on this far. And if I make it to 10 seasons, well something has to be done to celebrate that.
Having said that, I would like to introduce our guest today. After studying journalism, he worked as a registered nurse for many years before turning to fiction writing. He is the author of the Peter Clancy novels, as well as a thriller called Furey's War, which he co-wrote with his wife Kay Bell. My guest today, it's my pleasure to introduce Thomas Bell, who writes under the name T. W. Lawless. Hi Tom. How are you doing today?
Tom: I'm good.
Tom: I've had coffee. I'm fine.
Debbi: Oh, yes. You're always fine once you have that coffee. Amen to that. So how are things in Australia?
Tom: Well, fine at the moment. I think the weather is okay today. Well, we live near the sea, which is always okay. We love the sea. It's the weekend. What's today? I'm getting confused with time differences. It's Saturday today.
Debbi: Oh my gosh. Well, it's Friday where I am and it's Saturday where you are.
Tom: I always feel like in Australia, we live in the future.
Debbi: That's right. Yeah. Everything's going to be fine because everything's fine in Australia.
Tom: You just have to get to Saturday.
Debbi: Just take it one day at a time.
Tom: I know.
Debbi: One time zone at a time. Let's see. I wanted to ask you about Furey's War first, because for me it was a really interesting read because you were writing about World War II, but you were writing about it from an Australian perspective, and that's something that I've just never read.
Tom: That's true. That's true.
Debbi: Yeah. So what inspired you to write that book?
Tom: Well, I guess my father, because he …well, North Queensland. The family came from North Queensland from a small country town, which was a bit like the one in the book. The Gold Rush had gone and basically the town was a ghost town, becoming a ghost town until the Americans came in 1942 or whatever wanting an Air Force base. So that's what happened. An Air Force Base arrived and an Australian Air Force base arrived and there was this big influx of military people, plus a big cultural impact. So this country town became vibrant with all these American troops, like thousands. And of course, people loved it. Some people didn't like it. It changed the town, but all over Australia that happened. They wanted to be in Northern Australia because it was the access to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
Some of those stories in there are true. Sometimes the Australian troops didn't like the American troops because they were better paid, and Australian girls liking the American troops and Australians didn't like that. And of course, boys being boys, they had some fights and whatnot. So I just put that layer of the police officer trying to navigate his way through that and keep law and order, and sometimes trying to work with the Americans because he had been in the military with the Americans and trying to keep his town stable through all this. So I thought it was a different spin on things because I don't think peace time - not peace time - but the home front. You don't often hear about the home front in Australia. I think maybe it was the first, I don't know, but it was a great read.
Debbi: Well, it's the first time I have read it
Tom: Yeah. It was great to write and to work with my wife, so we got through that okay,