Leura's Julian Leatherdale vividly recalls the day in April last year he got the green light on his latest book - Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club.
That was also the day when the 59-year-old author was given the devastating diagnosis in hospital that he had inoperable liver cancer.
"It came out of left field," he said.
Every day since he has been on "borrowed time". His initial specialist didn't think the father-of-two would make it past March this year.
For Leatherdale it's particularly hard just as he reaches his writing strides as a successful working author, with this latest captivating book. The story is a compelling historical murder mystery and a fantastic romp through the Kings Cross underworld in 1932, complete with political turmoil, blackmail, bohemians and a pagan sex cult.
It follows wannabe crime writer and wild bohemian Joan Linderman who is thrown into real danger when her call girl neighbour is murdered. Set against the much anticipated opening of the harbour bridge with vivid details about the after effects of the Great War and the struggles of the underclass, it is riveting and throbs with life and death.
"It took a year-and-a-half to write ... it just fell into place," he said of his turn at crime fiction.
Critics are raving about the gritty work with Newtown Review of Books saying "readers who've loved Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher and Sulari Gentill's Rowland Sinclair series will devour Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club".
Leatherdale is well known in the Mountains for his previous works - Palace of Tears and The Opal Dragonfly - published here by Allen and Unwin and by Harper Collins Germany. His agent Selwa Anthony has called Leatherdale's latest book his best ever and potentially his breakthrough international novel.
Leatherdale's friends have rallied around him and are now supporting his experimental medical treatment in Perth through a Gofundme page to give him a chance to tell more stories.
There is a trivia night planned for Saturday March 14 at the Mid Mountains Community Centre, New Street, Lawson. Mayor Mark Greenhill is the quizmaster. Book at: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=606615&fbclid=IwAR1c_zK-v80WhyIBj3hOZ3aXoWXS4A-FLWVQRV2I_neMzaoWRrtboLlD6FA .
The go fund me page at https://au.gofundme.com/f/ffqd5p-help-author-julian-leatherdale-fight-liver-cancer explains the treatment costs $12,000 a visit and he will need several sessions.
Leatherdale is hopeful the treatment (which has had some success with pancreatic and prostate cancer) which delivers radioactive drugs to selectively target receptors on tumour cells might prolong his life. The fundraiser has so far raised $20,000.
He has been "overwhelmed" by their kindness as he worries about the future for his beloved partner of 35 years, fellow distinguished writer Claire Corbett and their children, 15 and 21.
"I'm going out with a bang and not a whimper," he said.
The launch date for his book is Friday March 20 at Katoomba's Carrington Hotel at 6.30pm with a $10 cover charge for nibblies and a glass of wine. All bookings to be made through Megalong Books.
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