Diana Hockley

Australia, Queensland, Brisbane

I live in an Australian country town in southeast Queensland, with my husband, Andrew,two male pet rats – Crash and Bash – and six girls, Inky, Annie, Phoebe, Pinky, Sweetie, Sister, Margaret and Baby.

For thirteen years we lived on a 35 acre farm, running a small Scottish Highland cattle stud (Fold) and valeting mice. Yes, mice! Our primary business was actually a mouse circus which kept the roof over the heads of ourselves, our cats, our dogs and our cows for ten years. Andrew, known to the show fraternity as The Mouse Man, travelled throughout southeast and western Queensland, northern and western New South Wales and as far south as Coffs Harbour with the circus, which was featured in lots of TV shows and documentaries.

A few years ago, we retired and the mouse circus sold. (YouTube, mouse circus Australia)

My first novel: THE NAKED ROOM

I was presenting an episode of my weekly classical music program and the thought surfaced: what would happen if the main performer didn’t turn up for the concert? Of course, it followed that something pretty drastic would have to happen for that to occur. Artists of any genre will perform on their deathbeds, so why would Ally Carpenter (the name popped into my mind without conscious thought) go missing?

Second in the Detective Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott series:

I needed to find out what happened to some of them, so before I finished N/Room, I began THE CELIBATE MOUSE. I had to get her into the country, so it became necessary to work out why a city cop would voluntarily move there for an extended time.

In 2008, Andrew and I, who are members of the Working Sheepdogs Association, went to Tasmania to see the finals of the Tasman Cup in Launceston. I was watching a trial finish. The human competitor was standing exposed to the elements at the last pen, just about to close it on the three sheep, with the dog poised to prevent breakouts. A breathless moment indeed. A scenario popped into my slimy little mind. ‘You could pick him off with a rifle quite easily.’ Hence the opening line in Celibate Mouse: ‘There is no mistaking the crack of a high powered rifle.’