Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, based at Austin Health, and has over 30 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry including being director of mother-baby units for much of this time. She continues to work with Protective Services and the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. She teaches, supervises a perinatal outreach service and provides one off second opinions for management of perinatal disorders and opinions for the court on these matters but no longer takes on new patients.
Medea’s Curse is her first psychological thriller, was optioned by Causeway films for a TV mini series, and published in UK in 2016. The second in the Natalie King series, Dangerous to Know was released on April 2016 in Australia and March 2017 in UK. Third in the series, This I Would Kill For was released in Australia February 1st 2018 and UK in July. The fourth in the series, working title Locked Ward in in progress, and a stand alone psychological thriller The Long Shadow is out in May 2020.
Two Steps Forward, (a story of starting again) co-written with Graeme Simsion was released October 2nd 2017 in Australia, and in Canada, UK, USA, Holland and Israel in 2018 (Germany in 2019) and we are currently writing a sequel, Two Steps Back, set on the Chemin d’Assise and the Via Francigena, between Cluny and Rome.
Photo: Lachlan Woods. Makeup: Sylvia Ura
Also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/anneebuist
I have published widely in my field of perinatal psychiatry, including a text book (now out of print) and over 100 journal articles. As Director of the beyondblue postnatal depression program I was passionate (and remain so) about early screening to ensure women had an opportunity to get help early so that their transition to motherhood is as smooth and pleasurable as possible, and that the outcomes for them and their children are optimised. Part of this program also attempted to combat the issue of stigma: a vast majority of women with PND want and love their child and endeavour to be the best parent they can be. Often their high expectations contribute to their depression – because they aren’t “perfect”. Fortunately, there is not such thing and even if there was, it wouldn’t be good for their children!
Medea’s Curse is not their story.
I started to write MC as nonfiction, to help people understand from the inside why some of the fatal tragedies involving children occur. But I quickly discovered that because I could not use the cases I had consulted on – for both reasons of confidentiality and because I did not want to put these families through yet more pain – that fiction was going to be a far better way to explore the issues raised in these cases. In addition it enabled me to show a little of what it is that psychiatrists actually do.
I have long been an avid reader – since devouring all of Enid Blyton at eight, progressing to Agatha Christie in my teens. I read 2-3 books a week, mostly psychological thrillers and crime.
I finished my first “book” at fifteen (having written hundreds of first paragraphs from age eight) – I still have it. Hilarious! Enough said.
On my first wedding anniversary my husband and I said the five things each that we wanted to do in the next five years. One of mine was to write a novel. The next year when I said the same thing (having not picked up a pen) he said : do it or forget it.
Like many would be authors I was afraid of rejection. But my husband’s words tapped into something deeper: even more I hated the idea of getting to old age and saying ‘I could have’. Trying and failing was a better option than never having tried.
“Kate and Cathie” about a psychiatry registrar whose own abuse history started to surface got a good review from the manuscript assessment service…and several rejections from publishers. It’s on the shelf. My shelf – no one elses! But I incorporated it into the plot of This I Would Kill For .
“Voluntary Act”, about boundaries and power, and specifically about why psychiatrists shouldn’t have relationships with their patients, attracted an agent and got to the last phase at Random House. Its rejection coincided with an offer of and Associate Professorship, so I took this and devoted the next ten or so years to perinatal psychiatry.
During a sabbatical and long service leave 2010-2011 I wrote an erotic romance under a pseudonym for fun – and it got accepted. I published two more full length novels with Siren Bookstrand and six novellas. This got me the 10,000 hours you need to get skilled in something, though I still have a lot to learn. I found the romance genre too restricting, but it gave me a wonderful opportunity to practice plot. I also had a number of short stories published and short listed for prizes.
Psychological thrillers are what I read and where my heart is. It is also using what I know; personality and why people do what they do. But that said, I had a lot of fun co-authoring a midlife reinvention (subplot romantic comedy) with my husband (Two Steps Forward out October 2017 in Australia, overseas 2018/9).
I have more planned for Natalie King my protagonist…the fourth picks up when her child is 11 months old.