FRONT PAGE NEWS: Ex-rural journalist Katie Rowney has published a murder mystery set on a town not unlike Goomeri.
FRONT PAGE NEWS: Ex-rural journalist Katie Rowney has published a murder mystery set on a town not unlike Goomeri. Contributed

New murder mystery based in town not unlike Goomeri

PLANTED in a country town as a rural journalist, Katie Rowney grew tired of cattle sales and bake-offs and would often dream something macabre would happen.

That dream came to reality in the form of her debut novel 'Front Page News', where Rowney created a journalist who ends up with far more than she wished for.

Front Page News tells the story of Stacey McCallaghan, a cadet journalist in the fictional town of Toomey, who is struggling to find anything remotely newsworthy to report on, until the first body turns up.

While the local police fumble the investigation, ambitious Stacey is just pleased to have something other than cattle sales to write about. But when Stacey shows up at one crime scene too many, she moves to the top of the most wanted list. Stacey must uncover the truth before anyone else gets hurt - or be put behind bars.

Rowney worked as a journalist in small country towns around Queensland before she shifted to communications.

Her debut novel is inspired by her time as a journalist, with aspects of the fictional town of Toomey based on Goomeri and similar towns around the state.

"As a regional journalist, I got to travel all over South East Queensland for work and I loved that each town has such a unique personality and strong sense of identity, while still being built around the same building blocks," Rowney said.

"I spent a few days in Goomeri for the pumpkin festival and loved the atmosphere and excellent eating. It's a beautiful place and the police station was exactly what I'd started imagining in my head for the book. I took hundreds of pictures on my visit and stuck them up around my work space so I could grab that atmosphere again when I was writing."

Like many novelists, Rowney has written what she knows and bled parts of her own life into the novel.

"Similar to the opening chapter of Front Page News, I did make a bet with a local police officer that the car we were watching be towed from the town pond would have a body in the trunk. But that's where the similarities end."

For more, visit http://www.penguin.com.au.