Teacher’s CIA thriller secures US book deal

THE world of CIA agents chasing international terrorists through Europe might seem like a long way from here, but that's the world inhabited by Lismore's Shelly Grace.

A school teacher by day, Shelly is the writer of crime thrillers by night, and she has just had her debut novel Cobalt picked up by US-based publishing company Dorrance.

And if it goes well, she has another six books in the series at various stages of completion.

The stories are based around regular characters CIA agents Rick Glazer and Madeline McKenzie.

"The action in this one is set in Moscow, Venice and Florence.

"I've spent a lot of time in Italy," she said.

And it seems Shelly has been able to combine her teaching work at St Mary's Catholic College in Casino with her research for the stories.

"Every second year we take the kids and a group from Trinity on an excursion to Italy to study Italian," she said.

Cobalt is available online and is "filtering in to book stores in Australia as we speak".

She hopes to go to the US for a publicity tour later in the year and will combine it with a course at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Shelly is also an actress and dance teacher.

She studied creative writing at SCU and said writing was something she always loved doing.

She shopped Cobalt around to a few different publishers but Dorrance loved the first chapter and within 24 hours of receiving it wanted to see the rest.

Within another 24 hours they were talking deals.

"I'm very proud of it," Shelly said.

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