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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Podcasts, murder and marketing with Sarah Bailey

If you like chilling cold cases, flawed characters and books that keep you turning the pages well into the wee hours of the night, then you’ll sink your teeth into Sarah Bailey’s latest crime novel, The Housemate. After three novels featuring detective Gemma Woodstock, Bailey has ventured into fresh territory with a new cast of characters, orbiting around investigative journalist Oli Groves.

When a cold case hots up, Groves is forced to re-examine a murder and missing person story she’d covered as a cadet. There's an almost carnival-like enthusiasm for death in the newsroom, plot turns that'll make you wince and plenty of darkness as the investigation becomes deeper and more dangerous. Groves proves an equally compelling protagonist and I was especially fond of Cooper, the young reporter and tech whiz too. This gripping story is out now, thanks to Allen & Unwin for an early copy.

Five fast minutes with Sarah Bailey

Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?

It would probably help if I had either a desk or an office, but I do most of my writing in cafes or lying on my bedroom floor. I don’t really have any lucky charms or special tokens but I have kept copies of my draft manuscripts. I look at them sometimes just to remind myself that all the effort is going to be worth it.

Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?

I walk a lot and listen to podcasts. There is something about walking and listening to conversations that shakes ideas loose in my brain. I often figure out tricky plot points on my walks.

What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?

Any kind of pasta. I love pasta so much and think about it a lot. I also like roast potatoes.

Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?

I’d probably choose some form of the career I’m in now. I work in advertising and enjoy being around creative people, the fast pace and the problem solving.

Chocolate, potato chips or cheese?

Potato chips. Especially salt and vinegar flavour. I eat at least two packets of the Red Rock Deli chips every week. I am also a fan of cheese. Chocolate I eat rarely. I don’t really have a sweet tooth.

Have you done anything special with any of your advances?

Not really although I have enjoyed a few celebratory dinners. I bought a print of a gemstone after The Dark Lake was published which comes from a scene in the book but it was only $30 so not exactly splashing out!

Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of inspiration?

Definitely when I’m out walking as I already mentioned but also in the bath or the shower. And I have had inspiration strike twice mid massage (although maybe that was because both times I was on holiday and just generally more relaxed).

Worst writing/book related injury?

My back is a mess but whether that is from age or writing on the floor I’m not sure.

Do you have a writing ‘uniform’?

Absolutely not. I write in all kinds of outfits and in between all kind of other things (work, kids sport, before breakfast on the weekends, late at night) so it’s anything from active wear to pyjamas or a suit with heels.

Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

There are so many. But I am excited to read Jennifer Down’s Bodies of Light and Michelle de Kretser’s Scary Monsters.

Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?

Karen from Goodreads said about The Dark Lake, ‘There is really nothing good about this book.’

I enjoyed the way her review was both comprehensive and to the point.

Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.

Before my back started to go to hell in a handbasket I was very good at limbo.

Where can people find you online?

My author website is

On Instagram at sarah_bailey_author or at twitter @sarahbailey1982

The Housemate

Three housemates. One dead, one missing and one accused of murder.

Dubbed the Housemate Homicide, it's a mystery that has baffled Australians for almost a decade.

Melbourne-based journalist Olive Groves worked on the story as a junior reporter and became obsessed by the case. Now, nine years later, the missing housemate turns up dead on a remote property. Olive is once again assigned to the story, this time reluctantly paired with precocious millennial podcaster Cooper Ng.

As Oli and Cooper unearth new facts about the three housemates, a dark web of secrets is uncovered. The revelations catapult Oli back to the death of the first housemate, forcing her to confront past traumas and insecurities that have risen to the surface again.

What really happened between the three housemates that night? Will Oli's relentless search for the murderer put her new family in danger? And could her suspicion that the truth lies closer to home threaten her happiness and even her sanity?

Sarah Bailey is a Melbourne-based writer with a background in advertising and communications. She has two young children and is currently the Managing Partner of advertising agency VMLY&R in Melbourne. Her internationally award-winning Gemma Woodstock trilogy includes The Dark Lake, published in 2017 and winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and the Davitt Award for Best Debut, followed by Into the Night in 2018, and Where the Dead Go in 2019.

Win! Win! Win!

For your chance to win a copy of Sarah Bailey's The Housemate and Chris Hammer's Treasure & Dirt, read this interview, and the sample chapter of Treasure & Dirt HERE and then enter the contest on my WIN page. Entries only open to Aussie addresses and newsletter subscribers, please. Closes 5pm October 10. We have two packs to give away, valued at $66 each thanks to Allen & Unwin.


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