As a teenager James discovered a love of geo-political thrillers, of being entertained and informed on topical global events. James cites influences on the Fox series from reading such authors as Alistair MacLean, Clive Cussler, Jeffery Archer, Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins, Robert Ludlum, John le Carre, Ian Fleming, and Jeffery Deaver.
In 1995, aged fifteen, James started his first novel, which he went on to develop as part of his major VCE English assignment in 1996. A thriller involving a terrorist attack on the 2000 Sydney Olympics, James eventually abandoned the storyline when Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six was published in 1998. While this story idea died, the lead protagonists of Lachlan Fox and Alister Gammaldi lived on as James went in search of another introductory tale for these series characters.
After high school James went on to study in Architecture, and then English Literature, eventually graduating with a PhD in Writing. It was during his masters degree and while working at The Age newspaper James developed the idea that would become his first published book, and would lead to seeing his novels in print.
Literati: Australian Contemporary Literary Figure Discuss Fear, Frustrations and Fame was published to critical acclaim in August 2005, by John Wiley & Sons. Comprising 21 candid interviews with key Australian authors and publishing figures, Literati answered many questions for would-be writers, those in the industry, and readers with a keen interest in the writing and publishing process.
FOX HUNT (Hachette, 2006) would prove to be the story to propel Lachlan Fox and Alister Gammaldi into the world stage of successful international thriller characters. FOX HUNT is a bridging novel between the aftermath of the Cold War and the new era of globalisation and War on Terror. It is a book that pays homage to the greats who have defined the genre and reflects the times we now find ourselves in. From Chechnya to New York, Venice to Washington, the storyline looks at the dangers of the Star Wars Missile Shield (aka Missile Defence), and the fragile reality of the remnants of the Cold War: political, military, and personal. Fox and Gammaldi must race against time before an ex-Soviet weapon is used by terrorists against the US.
PATRIOT ACT (Hachette, 2007) is the sequel to FOX HUNT and the second book in the Fox series, where we meet Lachlan Fox and Alister Gammaldi living in New York, working for the Global Syndicate of Reporters. This storyline involves rogue French agents attempting to hack into the NSA’s computers and Echelon system. It looks at the inherent dangers of communications and signals intelligence if it falls into the wrong hands, and centers around the “USA Partiot Act” introduced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Ultimately, it is a story of love and betrayal, on both a personal and nationalistic front. This story introduced a love interest for Fox, as well as a CIA conspiracy that leads into the next novel.
BLOOD OIL (Hachette, 2008) introduces a 3 book arc of antagonists in the form of UMBRA, a tale of friendship and redemption set in the chaotic scene of Nigeria. This is a dark tale for Fox as he battles his personal demons and what it means to seek out the truth at any cost.
LIQUID GOLD (Hachette, 2009) sees Fox and Gammaldi uncovering a water crisis between India and Pakistan that has repercussions to the highest levels, all the while with the key characters questioning relationships, brotherhood, and faith against an intense deadline.
RED ICE (Hachette 2010) is the first Fox novel to be set within a 24-hour time frame. From Paris to Shanghai, Fox must stop UMBRA from enacting the secret protocol attached to Russia’s 1867 sale of Alaska to the USA, in a thrilling story that concludes many of the themes and plots of the series to date.
As part of the research for the Fox series, James consults several active and retired members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as journalists and NGO personnel that have experienced most of what he writes about.
The ALONE trilogy was first published by Hachette in 2010-2011, with titles of CHASERS, SURVIVOR, and QUARANTINE. The trilogy follows 16-year-old Jesse in a post-apocalyptic war-zone of Manhattan, where for 21 days he must not only stay alive and avoid the infected, but will discover inner strength and resolve as he learns just what he can do... alone.
James is currently focused on future Lachlan Fox titles, as well as a new high concept espionage series (which will feature some fan-favourite Fox spin-off characters), appearing in 2013.
Also appearing in 2013 is a new 13-book series to be published by Scholastic. Titled THE THIRTEEN, each serialised installment will introduce a new character to work with our protagonist, a new international setting, and ever-increasing revelations, tensions, twists and turns as our thirteen teens must battle it out for the control of our dream world. Think INCEPTION meets INDIANA JONES and multiply that by ten kids of awesome. More details to come...
James currently lives in Melbourne. He regularly talks at schools, libraries, and literary festivals in Australia and overseas. He has written several short stories that have appeared in anthologies and periodicals, and has contributed chapters to serialised novels – including, with Jeffery Deaver and Lee Child, THE COPPER BRACELET (as an audio book narrated by Alfred Molina) and published as WATCHLIST (Vanguard 2010).