CHRIS HAMMER’s reputation for compelling crime reads has continued to skyrocket since the release of his debut, The River, in 2010. He has a shelf full of awards for his books published since. We caught up with Chris on the eve of the release of his new book, The Seven, to discover five things we may not know about him.
1. I used to have really long hair – no kidding. Back in the 1970s when I was a teenager, it reached halfway down my back. My kids hoot with laughter whenever they see the photos.
2. I’m a frustrated musician. Although I’ve played guitar since my teens, and at one stage even became quite competent, I’ve only ever been comfortable playing in private. I find the idea of playing in front of an audience terrifying, despite being quite relaxed about speaking in public. I reckon the big problem is my singing – I have a really lousy voice!
3. I was a good athlete when I was young, representing the ACT in cricket, Rugby and volleyball. I have a gold medal stowed away somewhere from when the ACT under-17 volleyball team won the Australian championships. Nowadays my exercise is more solitary: walking, swimming, cycling and skiing.
4. I once got Bob Hawke out playing cricket – but the then Prime Minister refused to go! It was in 1987, and I was a journalist playing for the Press
Gallery team in the annual match versus the Prime Minister’s team. Hawke edged my outswinger, and the keeper caught it in front of slips. But the umpire (who worked in Hawke’s office – this was social cricket) gave him not out. A few weeks later when I chided Hawke about it, the PM replied that you get a lot of tough decisions in life, so when you get a good one you should accept it!
5. I used to love hitchhiking. I hitched all the time in Australia until I saved enough money to buy a car. Even after that, I would hitchhike when I was overseas. In the USA, I hitched into New York a couple of times from Washington (was I mad?). I once hitched around France for several weeks hoping it would improve my French. It didn’t.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Hammer is a leading Australian crime fiction novelist, author of the internationally bestselling Martin Scarsden series: Scrublands, Silver and Trust.
Chris’s current award-winning series features homicide detectives Nell Buchanan and Ivan Lucic: Treasure & Dirt/ Opal Country; The Tilt/Dead Man’s Creek; and now The Seven/Cover The Bones.
Scrublands was an instant bestseller upon publication in 2018, topping the Australian fiction charts.
It was shortlisted for major writing awards in Australia, the UK and the United States. In the UK it was named the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year 2019 and won the prestigious UK Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.
Scrublands, Silver and Trust all feature troubled journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner Mandalay Blonde, while Treasure & Dirt follows homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan.
All of Chris’s books have atmospheric Australian settings, a range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.
Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years. He reported from more than 30 countries on six continents for SBS TV. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and Online Political Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Chris has written two non-fiction books The River (2010) – winner of the ACT Book of the Year – and The Coast (2012), published by Melbourne University Press.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in International Relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra, Australia.