Caleb Zelic has been profoundly deaf since early childhood and has always lived on the outside, observing tell tale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can't do it alone. Caleb calls on his friend and ex-cop, Frankie, who is dealing with her own personal demons, and together they start with a single clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead of Caleb and Frankie.
This gripping, gritty, original and pacy crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay. As Caleb delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend and himself, which he is forced to confront.
Caleb is an unforgettable protagonist who refuses to let his disability limit his opportunities. But does his persistence border on stubbornness, and at what cost?
Emma Viskic is a Melbourne-based crime writer. She has won two of Australia's premier crime fiction short story awards: the Ned Kelly S.D. Harvey Award (2014) and the New England Thunderbolt Award (2013). She has had stories placed and shortlisted in numerous other competitions and been published in Award Winning Australian Writing. She wrote the final draft of Resurrection Bay while being mentored through the UK-based WoMentoring Project. Emma underwent training in Auslan and consulted the Deaf community in order to draw the character of Caleb as accurately as possible. Emma is also a classically trained musician.
Author: Emma Viskic
Question: What inspired the idea of Resurrection Bay?
Emma Viskic: Like a lot of my writing, Resurrection Bay started with a single image. This was of a man sitting on a suburban kitchen floor, cradling his dead friend's body. Everything came from that image. I wanted to know who he was, what had happened, and what was going to happen next.
As I delved further into the story, Caleb's character came to life. He was stubborn, a little lost, and hyper-aware. I realised early on that he was deaf, but was nervous about the difficulties and responsibilities of writing a deaf character. I read books, spoke to people in the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and started learning Auslan. And then I let most of that go, and allowed Caleb lead the story.
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Emma Viskic: The characters' personalities aren't based on anyone, but a lot of them share traits and backgrounds with people I know. Kat's habit of making origami from tin foil is from a friend, as is Frankie's habit of tapping her fingers.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Emma Viskic: Real life is often the catalyst for a series of ideas. If I see a couple arguing, I'll wonder who they are and why they're fighting. Are they breaking up? Planning a robbery? A murder?
Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?
Emma Viskic: The story evolved naturally, driven by the characters, but writing has an interesting way of unearthing your thoughts. Many of the characters in Resurrection Bay could be considered outsiders. I didn't set out to write them that way, but I've been pondering the nature of -outsiderness' ever since I rocked up to my white bread primary school with my weird surname and lamb stew sandwiches.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Caleb Zelic?
Emma Viskic: I loved getting inside Caleb's head. Because he's so attuned to the world, I had to become more aware, too. The more time I spent with him, the more I began to notice things: people's body language and gestures, tiny changes in their expressions. It's changed the way I experience life.
Interview by Brooke Hunter