A Tea break with Mrs B · Interview

A Tea Break with Mrs B: Lee Christine

tea break with mrs b new image

It is a pleasure to welcome Lee Christine to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a author interview series. To help celebrate the release of Crackenback we sat down for a chat. Thanks Lee!

What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?

A chilled glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?

My debut romantic suspense novel was chosen as a launch title for Escape Publishing in 2012. Since then, I have had another four novels published with Escape. I also self-published one rural romantic suspense novel. In 2019 I was offered a contract with Allen and Unwin and Charlotte Pass was released in February 2020.

How different was the experience of writing Crackenback, compared to your other novels?

Very different because the police investigation was happening at the same time the drama was unfolding inside the ski lodge. Both Eva and Ryder had so much information to get their heads around, I needed to be careful about who learned what, and importantly, when, as I shifted back and forth. I wanted the reader holding their breath and wondering at what point everything would converge.

Can you tell us what inspired the creation of your new book, Crackenback?

Australia has a history of people disappearing and/or hiding out in National Parks and I wanted to tap into the creepiness and fear factor of that. I’d read a lot about Malcolm Naden and how he survived for such a long time in the bush while moving around and evading the police. I knew what was going to happen in this book before I wrote the first book in the series, Charlotte Pass. Readers of Charlotte Pass might recall the first chapter where Detective Ryder is taken off the hunt for Gavin Hutton and sent up to Charlotte Pass. In Crackenback, he returns to the Hutton case.

What are the main themes present in Crackenback?

Courage, bravery, revenge, and determination are the main themes. Other themes are trust, fate, love, motherhood and second chances.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Did you have a set outline of Crackenback before you sat down to write this novel, or did you allow this book to take shape during the writing process?

I’m a plotter. I know the characters before I start, I know the beginning and the end, the major turning points, and the list of scary things that my characters will face. So, I guess I have a rough map in my mind at the start and then I start writing and allow the creative process to unfold.

Did you have an affinity with a particular character in Crackenback and why?

Jack, because fate played a hand in his destiny. As a youth, he had a chance encounter with another person, and that person became the greatest influence on his life.

Can you tell us more about the Snowy Mountains setting base for Crackenback?

I was careful to create a fictional ski lodge situated on the elevated outskirts of the village, as I was loath to base it on an actual property that belonged to someone 😊. For readers who may be familiar with Thredbo, there are properties at the top of Crackenback Drive, some which look over the supertrail. For the purpose of the story, the Golden Wattle and Willy Wagtail are situated higher up the mountain and deep into the wooded area behind those lodges. I also chose Thredbo because of the long and often treacherous drive into Jindabyne along the Alpine Way during heavy snowfall.

What key ingredients are needed for a solid crime/suspense novel?

Believable characters with a strong motivation for their actions. For example, if they are prepared to put their lives on the line, there had better be a good reason for it. A sound plot is critical, and it’s important to get the pacing right. Action scenes are great for moving the story forward and raising the reader’s blood pressure, but it’s also important to give the reader a short break so they can catch their breath. I use these ‘quieter’ scenes to develop the relationship between the characters. The stronger the relationship between the characters, the higher the stakes.

What is one thing that you really hope readers will take away from the experience of reading Crackenback?

In these worrying times, I hope to give readers hours of pleasure and escapism from everything that is going on in the world. I hope they close the book with a feeling of satisfaction that a crime has been solved and, if they haven’t already, I hope they discover more about our unique alpine areas.

When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my family, snow skiing, riding my bike and walking my Irish Wheaten Terrier, Honey.

What book is next on your reading pile?

The Searcher by Tana French and The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

What are you working on writing wise at present?

I’m currently working on book 3 in the Snowy Mountains series, ‘Dead Horse Gap’.

Thank you for the lovely tea break and chat Lee. Congratulations on the release of your new book, Crackenback.

Thank you so much.

A thrilling tale of snow-bound crime and suspense from the bestselling author of Charlotte Pass Detective Sergeant Pierce Ryder of the Sydney Homicide Squad is on the hunt for notorious fugitive Gavin Hutton.

After months of dead-ends, the breakthrough Ryder has been hoping for leads him back to the New South Wales Snowy Mountains on the trail of the suspected killer.

Meanwhile, when an injured man bursts into the remote Thredbo lodge managed by Eva Bell, her first instinct is to protect her daughter, Poppy. The terrifying arrival of Jack Walker turns Eva’s world upside down as the consequences of Jack’s presence become clear.

With a killer on the loose, Jack Walker and Ryder are tangled in the same treacherous web – spun across the perilously beautiful Crackenback Range.

Crackenback by Lee Christine was published on 2nd February 2021 by Allen and Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

Connect with Lee here:





2 thoughts on “A Tea Break with Mrs B: Lee Christine

  1. Fabulous interview Ladies

    I have read and loved this book and it did give be hours of reading pleasure very much so, I do highly recommend this one and Charlotte Pass.

    I love that there is going to be a third one woohoo.

    Congratulations Christine on another fabulous book

    have Fun


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hellen, thanks for stopping by the let Lee and I know you enjoyed the interview. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book too, it seems like I have a real reading treat ahead! I was so pleased to read in the interview a third is on the way!

      Have a lovely day Helen and happy reading.

      Mrs B


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