They all have a common theme: surviving the elements. It doesn’t get more basic.
Which is why I dare to mention my story imbroglio in the same breath.
Imagine the fear of going overboard 25 kms out to sea, at night.
I’m serious. Really imagine it.
Knowing that although you’re completely alone, you’re not alone. You might have survived the fall, but will you survive the predators beneath your feet? Will you survive the unrelenting tides and weather?
But let’s face it, it’s the thought of those predators that are making your toes curl right now.
Enough to give you nightmares, isn’t it.
Could you possibly survive? What would you need to attempt it?
A sense of direction? The will? The ability to swim? Strength? Endurance?
You would need all of those and more.
Noel Valentine. Does she have those qualities? Any of them?
Maybe, but will they be enough?
On a dark night 25 kms off the coast of Sydney, Australia, she goes over the side of a luxury yacht. She doesn’t want to. It’s a choice between a quick death aboard at the hands of criminals or a slow one overboard. Instinct impels her to the slow option.
For an atmospheric glimpse here’s my new half minute imbroglio trailer.
The prompt was a problem with the blog sharing capabilities of my old website. That raised it’s very annoying head just two weeks before I was due to renew my website registration for another year or two.
It was obviously a sign from above to move on. So I did. To WordPress. Boy, was that ever a steep learning curve!
Incredibly annoyingly—at least in the short term—was the fact that I was unable to transfer my existing data. I therefore had to start from scratch.
That turned out to be a good thing because it made me analyse what my old site had offered and whether I wanted to replicate it.
I decided I didn’t.
I thought about what I, as a reader, like to see on author pages.
Information about their books, yes, but also information about them. I like to know something about the lives of the authors I read. Not nosy stuff, definitely not. But where they live, what interests them and what they occasionally get up to.
And here’s the result.
I’ve completely overhauled my book pages to include the story behind the story and location pics. I’ve also gone the extra mile and chosen the Australian actors I’d love to play my lead characters if the books were to be made into movies. Come check them out. Here are a few. imbroglio stars | automaton stars
Elisabeth, it’s lovely to finally meet you. I’ve been wanting to talk to you ever since the revelations that came out during Russell Montgomery’s trial. I thought we could tackle it by starting at the beginning and working our way from there.
Elisabeth: Sounds good to me.
What prompted you to move from Sydney to Canberra?
Elisabeth: I love Sydney but not to put too fine a point on it I felt I had to leave. Work and life there were no longer tenable.
You were with Legal Aid and you moved to the Canberra Legal Aid office. So it wasn’t Legal Aid as such that you wanted to move away from?
Elisabeth: No. It was more that I kept running into someone I wanted nothing to do with.
Would that be Thierry Richards QC?
Elisabeth: Look … regardless of how I feel about that person I don’t want to … would you mind if we moved on.
Okay, let’s talk about when you arrived in Canberra. You jumped in at the deep end with the Russell Montgomery case.
Elisabeth: I’m really sorry… but do you mind if we don’t talk about that either. It’s still very raw.
Not a problem. I understand. Let’s take a step back. Describe yourself to me. How do you see yourself?
Elisabeth: Okay. Let me attempt a bit of objectivity. Short spiky red hair. I used to be able to sit on it but had it cut before coming to Canberra. Typical redhead’s colouring … white, no freckles because I’ve never been a sunlover, size 10, 5’7” in bare feet, and I’m 34. How’s that? Oh, and shall I tell you what Robert said about my eyes? Green as deep ocean on a sunbright day. I was speechless when he said it. No-one’s ever described them quite like that before. So now you’d know me in a crowd, yes?
Yes, I believe I would. Next question: What do you hope to achieve in life?
Elisabeth: That a big question. Many things I suppose, but happiness has to be at the top. Nothing’s worth it if you’re not happy.
And are you? Happy, that is.
Elisabeth: I’m working on it.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Elisabeth: I’m a walker. For the exercise but also because I love it. Getting out and exploring and letting my mind wander. Never fails to refresh and re-invigorate.
Your friend Honey Milton was often a walking companion I believe. What is she to you?
Elisabeth: My best friend. Always will be. She’s gorgeous. I adore her. I miss her like crazy now that I’m in Canberra. We used to see each other all the time because her man travels a lot. He’s an actor and tours with his company. And as you say, we both liked walking. Not so often together nowadays, given we now live in different cities.
What about Robert Murphy?
Elisabeth: Robert? I liked him the moment I met him. He’s straightforward, sincere, good at his job. What’s not to like? The fact that he’s very attractive is a plus … . He stuck with me from the start despite the fact I couldn’t have been very likeable. I had my reasons, but he didn’t know that. But I count him among my good friends now. I hope he feels the same way about me.
As much as I’d like to explore that further I know you don’t want to, so let’s turn to the trial. What was it about the Stavros family that irked you so much?
Elisabeth: Every single one of them was lying and I knew it. But proving it was almost impossible because of Russell’s amnesia. Thank God for Robert and Joe Gaudry. In spite of me being no help they kept pushing. It was entirely because of them we got to the truth.
Let’s finish with what’s made you the woman you are today?
Elisabeth: Mmm. That may be a question better put to others. But I’ll have a go at it. On a personal level I was very young when I made the decision that altered my life. At the time I felt it was the only choice I could make, I believed I was too young to do anything else. I still believe that. But I feel the weight of condemnation from some people. I try not to let it bother me. On a professional level, law was something that always interested me. When I started university I began a Bachelor of Arts, but the law components really gripped me so I changed and ended up doing a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics. I still like law. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t be happy doing something else … if something else came along.
Elisabeth, thanks, I know you weren’t looking forward to this and what I might have been planning to ask you. How about we go for a drink. My shout.
Elisabeth: It’s Friday night so why not. Great idea. Just so you know though. Anything I say under the influence is not for public consumption.
Fair enough. Grab your bag then. There’s a new bar opened up in Garema Place. I thought we could see if it’s any good.
You can find Elisabeth and get to know her story in AUTOMATON
Today I was lucky enough to corner David Cameron for half an hour to talk to him about recent events in his life. It’s fair to say, and I don’t think he’ll contradict me, they were catastrophic and life changing for him.
Thanks for agreeing to sit still and have a coffee while I interrogate you.
David: No worries. Although it remains to be seen what I’ll actually answer.
I can see by the grin you’re not going to put too many obstacles up. I’m going to raise Noel Valentine straight the way. Putting it mildly, your meeting was unorthodox.
David: Putting it mildly, yes. But she saved my life twice, so I can only be grateful.
Twice? I know about the car accident but …
David: The second time was after the accident, when I was hospital. Who knows? If she hadn’t done what she did I could still be there and still be in a coma. No-one mentions it but it couldn’t have been easy for her, in any number of ways but one, specifically, was that she was injured herself and what she did must have caused her pain.
You’re right, no-one has brought that up before. How did you feel when you thought she was lost? Sorry, it’s obviously something that makes you uncomfortable.
David: No, not uncomfortable … Panic … still … every time I think about it. And if I still feel that way imagine how her parents, her family, still feel.
I apologise for mentioning it. What are your plans now everything has settled down? Do they include Noel?
David: If she wants it, yes. But let’s not jinx anything, huh?
All right, let’s talk about something else.You were sporting quite a few aliases there for a while. How did you keep track of them?
David: With difficulty. Glad to be done with them and be myself again.
How are things with your mother now?
David: Still a bit tricky but at least we’re talking. I spent several days with her in the States a few weeks back and it went well. And I’m glad. I gave both my parents a hard time when I was growing up and neither of them deserved it. I’m pleased to be back in the fold, so’s to speak.
The company, Gem Techtronics, I understand you’ve been working around the clock since taking over. Are you going to be able to save it?
David: I think so. It’s looking that way. Marion’s putting her heart and soul into it too, I couldn’t have attempted it without her. But she’s got the two kids, Elizabeth and Robin, and I’ve got to keep reminding myself to let her have that work/life balance.
I wondered at one time whether you had a soft spot for her.
David: I did. And I do. She’s one in a million. She has my undying gratitude and friendship, but if you’re asking if she has my heart, no. And she wouldn’t want it. She thinks I’m dangerous!
In what way?
David: To tell you the truth I don’t know. When I asked what she meant she just gave me that gimlet stare and said ‘You don’t change overnight’. You’ll have to ask her.
Maybe I will. I’m talking to her soon. You’d led a pretty free and adventurous life before all this happened. Do you think you’ll be able to settle permanently or do you think you’ll get itchy feet again? What’s so funny?
David: Excuse me while I crack up. What’s so funny? The question. What I’m doing now couldn’t be called anything else but adventurous. It’s just a different kind of adventure and it’s exactly what I want … and what I need. I’d already had enough of my old life, that’s why I came home. Life now is exactly what I want it to be. Or almost, anyway.
You’re talking about Noel.
David: And that’s where this interview ends. Thanks for the coffee, I’ve got to be going.
I wouldn’t be worth my pay grade if I didn’t try. Thanks, and good luck. It was nice to meet you.