The journey

I will be forever grateful for the irresponsibility that saw me spend a number of years skindiving in the clear waters off Cape Town and drinking beer with my friends while watching the sun set over Clifton Beach. As a result I spectacularly flunked out of my engineering course and, instead of building things of concrete, have spent my life in the world of words.

I have worked as a photographer, sports reporter, news journalist, news editor, magazine editor, publications manager and in public relations – and in my spare time experience the joy and agony of writing fiction.

Highlights include working for anti-apartheid newspaper editor Donald Woods at the height of South Africa’s apartheid era and working as Publications Manager for Amnesty International Australia and editing their former flagship publication The Human Rights Defender magazine

The Pawn grew out of the years living under apartheid but only reached maturity in 1989 when it won third prize in Australia’s most lucrative fiction competition and was published by Random House. The tax-man took half of the $5 k prize money but it was still an all-time high.

Shadow by my Side followed after I decided working full time in management really sucked. It was published by Zeus in 2008 and sold more than 100 copies at the launch.

The idea for Gavel was sparked by events which took place in Australia in the ‘90s – but which I realised make compelling fiction for today’s world.

With The Seventh Vial I moved to a world stage and the terrifying prospect of genetic terrorism. “Is it possible to genetically engineer a virus to make it racially specific?” I asked a geneticist I worked with at the time. “Probably not right now but given a group of highly intelligent researches and some millions of dollars it might be possible within a few years,” was the answer.

More than a few years have passed and bird flu, the virus I chose for my story, is still in the headlines with periodic outbreaks and the ever-present fear that it could become human-to-human transmissible. If a mutation like the one featured in this book is not already being a developed in a laboratory somewhere, it is only a matter of time …

My latest novel Harris features a new Australian anti-hero Harris – an Afghan vet who lives down a mine in Lightning Ridge, struggles with PTSD and anger management ,but can’t resist helping others in trouble.

Ian Wynne

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