UK release … here it comes

It was very exciting earlier this month to learn from my publisher, Hachette Australia, that its ‘sister’ operation — Hachette UK — would be including Betrayed in the Hachette export program.

What that essentially means is my book will be made available in more than 1700 bookstores in the UK, as well as online via Amazon UK (where the majority of British book sales are made these days).

Hachette’s export program is a wonderful opportunity to introduce Betrayed into the UK market, tapping into overseas sales and providing invaluable exposure to a wider readership.

Hachette plans to release Betrayed in UK stores and online around 1 December — in time for Christmas stocking stuffers! The release date may be subject to change given the vagaries of overseas shipping and COVID-related staff shortages in the global supply chain.

It’s my understanding the book will be available through Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon UK, UK and Foyles.

It was also heartening to receive some feedback from a longtime friend and professional colleague who is a discerning judge of both what makes a good story, and what makes a good story teller.

Andrew wrote the following:

“Having known you for over two decades, I’ve heard some of the Drug Grannies’ story retold in person and always remember thinking, ‘cool story’. I would occasionally say, “You should write a book, Sandi”, and then that was that … now there is a book and Audible book – the latter which I devoured like a good wine. It was near impossible not to be left gobsmacked by the detail of the story, the intricate web of deceit and betrayal, and the romance of a bygone generation’s blind trust in the system, people, and the belief that people will do the right thing. I could not stop listening to this Audible book, even taking the long way home while driving just to get a few more minutes in. “Oh Toddie and Beezie” … I lost count of how many times (while quietly sitting and wearing noise-cancelling headphones, or driving in the car and being totally engrossed in Audible) I frequently bellowed aloud: ‘No!’, ‘Oh my God – are you serious?’, ‘for **** sake!’, and ‘Jesus wept!’ What a fascinating and compelling story from such a transitional era in Australian history. Ignorance and the law are not entwined in bliss: the ‘grannies’ were living proof of this. As for Sandi – what a storyteller, and what a truly just and committed crusade to embark upon, with others, to secure the release of Toddie and Beezie. Thanks for the cool story, Sandi. And thanks for finally writing the book.”

Since Betrayed’s release, I’ve received a range of feedback, comments, questions and sometimes new information about the story behind Vera Hays’ and Florice Bessire’s drug bust and subsequent imprisonment. Relatives from both sides of the family in the United States, as well as former neighbours and friends in La Pine have now read the book and have all been very positive with their comments.

They have been surprised by some of the detail about the genesis of the trip, the trip itself, and then the escape of nephew Vern Todd. This, of course, was not a period in either Toddie’s or Beezie’s lives about which either woman ever shared much detail once they were freed.

In a week’s time (on 30 July) I’ll be speaking at the event True Crime in the Vines at Coolangatta Estate on the beautiful New South Wales south coast. The organisers have chosen an historic winery and vineyard to create an experience that will delight attendees’ curiosity for true crime. I’ll be joining crime authors Amanda Howard and Tanya Bretherton for this all day event, in which I will discuss my connection to, and relationship with the Drug Grannies which ultimately led to Betrayed.

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