Coast author Steve White releases his first book after 800 rejections. Picture: Supplied
Coast author Steve White releases his first book after 800 rejections. Picture: Supplied

25 years, 800 rejections: Coast author releases first crime novel

Steve White certainly knows a thing or two about perseverance.

The Sunshine Coast-based writer is finally publishing his first book - after spending 25 years writing and about 800 rejections from many publishing houses.

"I got there in the end," he said.

White's book, Hermit, will be released on August 25.

It will also be sold in the UK and has been translated into Czech.

His publisher, Hachette, was so confident with White's work, it signed the author for a second book to be released in a year and is turning the book into an audio book.

Hermit, a crime novel, has been compared to works from best-selling authors Jane Harper and Chris Hammer.

The book is based on a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia where Detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect, a man who disappeared 15 years earlier.

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White has a long history in the police.

He worked in the force in west Wales for 12 years.

"It taught me the culture of the police, the attitudes and the way people work together," he said.

There are plenty of crime novels on the market.

But White says his book is different.

White is fascinated by how people choose a reclusive lifestyle.

His book's plot takes inspiration from that.

"There seem to be a lot of crime novels where you sit there and read them and you think 'Well, why didn't you just look at his phone', cause everything's on the phone," he said.

"Whereas if you've got a hermit, you've got no starting point, no leverage with them, no power over them to take this away …, so I've been playing around with that idea."

Russo, the main character, is an introvert in an extrovert world.

Hermit is Steve White’s first crime novel. Picture: Supplied
Hermit is Steve White’s first crime novel. Picture: Supplied

"For police officers you're basically projecting your personality all the time, particularly in the UK where you don't have a gun, so you've got to control a room or a group of people just by imposing your personality in a situation," he said.

White was 49 when he ended up in Australia in 2006 to reconnect with his family.

He studied creative writing at university after he was made redundant from the police force.

Leaving the police opened new doors for White.

"It wasn't a nice couple of years and at that point I thought right, I'll sell the house, go back to uni and work it out from there," White said.

"It did give me a lot more time for the writing.

"I wanted to try my luck out here.

White is a crime drama fan.

It takes up two thirds of what he reads.

He said he loved the urgency and the importance crime fiction offers.

"Courtroom, surgery and police interview all just carry intrinsic drama and that's part of the appeal," he said.

"You know that if you've got a story around that then it really matters, it really matters to the characters".

Hermit is dedicated to his mother, Patricia, who died 18 months ago.

She had a first class honours degree in Welsh and loved the subtlety of languages.

The book also focuses on the subtlety of languages.

"(The main character is) trying to get inside this guy's head and so every word counts and everything he doesn't say counts," White said.

"I probably got that from my mum. She was very good at picking up languages."

Hermit will be available at book stores for $32,99 from August 25.


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