For the last few years I have lived on Phillip Island in Western Port, on Australia's south coast where the south-westerlies blow off icebergs, which I know are just over the horizon. After living in semi tropical Queensland for years I almost died of the cold when I first unpacked. I don't fish - I don't play golf - don't play with boats so life is at a steady, controlled pace.
My first attempt at fiction was when I was quite young - I still have the typewritten manuscript. I have kept it only because it was so dreadful. Another phase later on was writing for a Sydney novella publisher, ghosting for popular author Carter Brown. After two or three stories they mailed down cover illustrations, which were there to inspire the next story. Soon after that I got a real job with a technical magazine publisher and when they were swallowed by a Canadian conglomerate, I did a stint in the PR industry then it was on to an industrial advertising agency.
Disillusioned, I packed up the family from Melbourne for a rural tree-change life in the North East but when I discovered that running sheep on five acres wasn't a goer, I joined the regional daily newspaper to report magistrates court and local government.
Skipping over the years in central Queensland doing the same, we - me and my wife - no, my wife and I settle on Phillip Island and I got stuck into researching family life in the 1860s, so the next logical step was historic mystery fiction. The logic of that I am not really sure. But I did find out that some of the characters I meet in these writings I quite like, although there are a few who disappoint me. Only once did I meet the charming Jasmine Ching, in Charlie Che's home; she was his sister-in-law and a most successful international Chinese trader and when she suggested I might call on her at sundowner hour the following day, to be honest I was tempted.
As for my historic novels, they never seem to be planned that well and often I don't know who dunnit until one of the characters points it out to me.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Love to hear from you.
Where to find Derek Scales online
Only Standing Still
by Derek Scales
An investor and Western Port landholder is found dead after a dinner party. Dinner guest and ex detective Robin Cork assists police with their inquiries while pursuing his own investigation into an old island murder. The discovery of a number of smuggled golden Buddha statuettes results in a fierce confrontation between armed foreign sailors and police, with Cork assisting from the sidelines.
by Derek Scales
It's 1863 and a power struggle is developing in Melbourne between the established Chinese brothel owners, led by Che Quon, known as Charlie Che, and American Earl Christian and his team of Californian coach drivers. Young Wu is shot dead and a day later an American is found hanging from a tree. They are the first of many puzzling deaths.
by Derek Scales
Ex Melbourne policeman and Maori War veteran Robin Cork returns home suffering from a serious wound and a case of war nerves. He stays at Gibsons Corner, a village that is a Pandora's box of a failed tavern robbery, two murders, a cattle stealing alliance and a missing grey gelding. While he struggles to close the box several local women speculate on his past and muse on his length of stay.
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