IT'S UNUSUAL for an author to launch two books on the same day. Lennox Head children's author and illustrator Martin Chatterton has got around it by assuming the name Ed Chatterton for his first work of adult fiction.
In a Chatterton duet, the former Liverpudlian Martin will be launching his latest tome for kids in his Mort gothic comedy series, Mortal Combat, while Ed will simultaneously launch his psychological thriller, A Dark Place to Die at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival on Sunday.
His 32 kids' books have been published in more than a dozen languages and won numerous awards.
But A Dark Place to Die is a move into new territory, and is set to be the first in a new series of crime thrillers featuring detective Frank Keane.
"Book two will be out next year," Ed told The Echo.
"And I'm confident I will get another two, at least, commissioned. (Publisher) Random House is trying to place me alongside writers I admire like Val McDermid."
The series is also doing the rounds in Hollywood, so these are exciting times for Ed.
US agents IPG/Stone have even pitched the series to Danny Boyle's producer - film director Boyle (Trainspotting, Slum Dog Millionaire) was the artistic director of the spectacular opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
A Dark Place to Die has two contrasting settings: dark, industrial Liverpool and the idyllic Northern Rivers.
In an extra local twist, Ed has "stolen" the names of players from the Byron Bay soccer club for some of his characters -with their permission - so Menno Koopman shows up as a legendary Liverpool detective who migrated to northern NSW and whose son is found horribly dead, 12,000 miles from home, on the first page of the book. And Jim Gelagotsis is a "card-carrying nasty bastard".
"The Northern Rivers features heavily in the book," Ed said.
"The plot zig-zags between the two locations - Koopman has retired to Nashua and I wanted to get the biggest possible contrast between the two places."
The Byron Bay Writers' Festival is on from August 3-5. For the full program and to book tickets, go to byronbaywritersfestival.com or call the booking hotline on 1300 368 552.
Writers Festival features many Northern Rivers authors
Jessie Cole author of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Jessie won the VarunaHarperCollins Manuscript Development Award in 2009.
Lisa Walker won the 2010 VarunaHarperCollins Manuscript Development Award with the manuscript Liar Bird and went on to sign a two-book deal with HarperCollins.
Jim Hearn worked as head chef at Byron's popular ocean-side restaurant Rae's on Wategos. His book High Season is "a memoir of heroin and hospitality" and a terrific read.
Amanda Webster's gripping memoir The Boy Who Loved Apples is a wry story about a mother's battle with her son's anorexia.
Shamus Sillar pitched his book, Sicily, it's not quite Tuscany to publishers as part of the festival's Perfect Pitch program and it was snapped up.
John Bailey from Mullumbimby has written six books. In 2003 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to literature.
Renowned restaurateur and cook Gay Bilson lives in Bangalow. Her most recent book is On Digestion.
Jesse Blackadder's first novel After the Party was a tribute to Byron Shire. She's completing Chasing the Light, a novel about the first woman to reach Antarctica.
David Lovejoy, co-founder of The Byron Shire Echo, has written two historical novels, Moral Victories, and Heresy, which is being launched at the festival.
Jane Meredith will launch her second book Journey to the Dark Goddess: How to Return to Your Soul. .
Edna Carew of Mullumbimby is the author of more than 20 books including the best-selling Fast Money and Westpac.
Comedian Mandy Nolan of Mullumbimby published her hilarious memoir What I Would Do If I Were You last year. Her second book Boyfriends I Have Known is due out in December.
Mungo MacCallum is another local institution, with a journalism career spanning more than four decades. He is the author of eight books on politics and will be launching his latest book Eat My Words at the Festival.