Former GP Kathryn Fox turned to fiction to write about the effects of crime

CRIME DIAGNOSIS: Australian author Kathryn Fox made the move from working as a GP in medical clinics to writing crime fiction. Her latest book is a collaboration with bestselling US author James Patterson.

CRIME DIAGNOSIS: Australian author Kathryn Fox made the move from working as a GP in medical clinics to writing crime fiction. Her latest book is a collaboration with bestselling US author James Patterson.

For Kathryn Fox, giving up medicine to become a crime writer wasn’t that big a leap.

Ms Fox, who is visiting Wollongong on Wednesday for a literary lunch organised by the Friends of Wollongong City Library, was working as a GP when she decided to take the plunge into writing crime fiction.

“I was listening to people’s stories and medicine is about taking people’s histories and finding the story to try and find a conclusion,” Ms Fox said.

“It’s not that different from crime solving and crime writing.”

But rather than focus on the detective solving the crime, her hands-on relationships with victims as a GP made her look to take a different approach.

“I saw a lot of victims of violent crime, sexual assault, domestic violence and I thought that there was a gap in the market for fiction,” she said.

“Often the victim is seen as the catalyst.

“They’re briefly seen at the beginning of the story and then the story takes over.

“I wanted to give those kinds of victims a voice and create a different perspective in writing.”

Her background working in medical clinics allowed her to see the after-effects of a moment of violence.

“You see that ripple effect that crime has in a community,” she said.

“Often I would actually have the [victim] in the practice as well as who committed the crime and you very quickly learn that crime and violence does have this massive ripple effect through a community – grandparents, friends, kids who went to school, it affects communities and I wanted to try and get that across.”

Her latest novel, Private Sydney, is a joint effort with bestselling crime writer James Patterson.

It was a connection that began when someone handed him a copy of her book during a visit to Sydney.

“He was flying out at six o’clock the next morning and he said he’d read it,” she said.

“The next day he actually couriered it back and had a testimonial in it saying he though it was great.

"I’ve got that framed in my office ever since.”

He kept an eye on her career – even commenting about how he liked the Australian covers of her books better than those from the UK or US.

Then one day she got an email asking if she wanted to work with him on a book.

“I thought that was really lovely and would be really interesting to do,” she said.

Kathryn Fox is the guest at the Friends of the Wollongong City Library lunch at Villa D’oro on Wednesday.

Tickets are available from the cashier’s office at Wollongong City Council building as well as Corrimal, Thirroul and Dapto libraries.

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