Writers on Wednesday: Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis
Time once again for Writers on Wednesday. This week, I am chatting with Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis, cousins and co-authors of Lingering Doubts a book that goes well behind the scenes of Brisbane's arcade murder ...
Tell me a bit about yourselves …
DEB – Married – to Ray for 40 years – blessed with a son and a daughter and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I love moving house, have a varied work history which includes jillaroo, school bus driver, various managerial roles and owner of a real estate office. Queensland has always been my home and I now live just north of Brisbane. Before the book became my ‘life’ I owned horses and competed in dressage.
JANICE - I am married – to John for 42 years - with 5 sons, 5 daughters in law and 15 grandchildren who are all the lights of my life. I currently live in a small country Qld town which I really enjoy, but have also lived in the USA for about 6 years which opened my parochial eyes somewhat.
Tell us about your most recently published book?
DEB – Most recently published book? This is our only published book! And what a journey it’s been! Personally I’ve grown so much during the process…and drink more red wine. Lingering Doubts – Going inside Brisbane’s Arcade Murder is predominantly a search for answers – my cousin Janice and I knew very little about our grandfather apart from the fact he was convicted of murder in 1947 and died soon after in Boggo Road Gaol. Our book shines a spotlight on the police investigation and a justice system that can take only 2 months from the day of arrest to a life sentence being handed down.
JANICE - Lingering Doubts is no doubt, my sixth child – coproduced with my dear cousin, Deb Drummond. Hmmm, I don’t really know how this metaphor stands up, but you understand it was a labour of love! We were published a year ago, and while it was a blessed relief after many years of research, writing and editing, it surely was exciting. I am extremely proud of the book – primarily because I believe we achieved a clarity and veracity which no other writers have been able to do with this story.
Tell us about the first time you were published?
DEB - This is it although in 2012 I compiled a booklet titled The Cocks Family Tree for the Toowong & District Historical Society. Our family were pioneers in Toowong, a suburb in Brisbane’s west.
As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?
DEB AND JANICE – One book – many proud moments. Hard to rate one above the other. Firstly, let’s see, our amazing and insightful reader reviews which can be read on our website. Also, to have Lingering Doubts recognised and promoted by people like veteran investigative reporter and author Bob Bottom, Matthew Condon (Three Crooked Kings), Evan Whitton and Dr Robert Moles who both work tirelessly to improve our justice system. Then, lastly but not least, our unexpected nomination for the shortlist of 2014 People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year.
What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?
DEB – Promotional material for Lingering Doubts – this journey isn’t over yet. New evidence has come forward and one day we hope to have our grandfather’s case re-examined. Janice and I continue to present our book and our grandfather’s story to the public.
JANICE - I am currently attempting to finish a BA (sociology/Australian Studies) which I started 10 years ago and had to abandon so that I could work on the book.
Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?
DEB – I love to curl up and get cosy with a real book – can’t imagine feeling that way with a tablet or a Kindle (are they the right names?)
JANICE - I love to take a book into the bath with me, so a paper version is the safest. However, I’d be really happy to see our publication as an Ebook as it is definitely the future trend.
Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?
DEB AND JANICE – Somewhere in between for us. We would best describe our publishing arrangement as a joint venture. It worked for us as we love to personally tell our story and promote the book. The proceeds from our book sales come directly to us. If our publisher sells from his stock we receive a commission.
Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?
DEB – There are, in fact, 3 books everyone should read: Evan Whitton’s Our Corrupt Justice System, Trial by Voodoo – why the law defeats justice and democracy, The Cartel – Lawyers and their Nine Magic Tricks (one day in the future I might allow myself to read a novel) J
JANICE - Other than the Bible? Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my perennial favourites, and I currently love our early Australian women writers like Miles Franklin and Kylie Tennant.
Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?
DEB AND JANICE – Yes! You have the most amazing man in your midst. Dr Robert Moles, Networked Knowledge miscarriages of justice website (Netk). Dr Moles (Bob) has devoted years to the Henry Keogh case and has very recently changed the appeal law in South Australia. Bob is heading a campaign to establish a National Criminal Cases Review Commission similar to the one in the UK.
Also Adelaide or more specifically Gouger Street forms part of our story.
If the opportunity arises we are always open to visiting Adelaide to speak about our book and show our powerpoint presentation – and perhaps sell some books.