Kay Schubach, author of Perfect Stranger, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |February 25, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kay Schubach

author of Perfect Stranger

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

· Born in Melbourne, Australia. Local high school then Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies and currently studying my Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics. Growing up in suburbia gave me an unquenchable thirst for exploration.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12: an astronaut, from reading science books and the scary mystery of it all. At 18 and 30: writer and writer – there was no choice.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I can’t think of anything I’ve been so disillusioned by that has changed my fundamental beliefs. I briefly lost faith in humanity but surviving cancer and witnessing the love and generosity of friends, family and medicos, I have my faith completely restored. I believe in myself more than did at 18.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Deciding, against prevailing wisdom and financially tricky times, to take a year off work to write fulltime. It changed the way I thought about myself, gave me confidence and thoroughly exercised the writing muscle.

Deciding to risk everything for love and having it blow up in my face.

Deciding to write about those events.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

An amazing book deal from Penguin is pretty persuasive.

6. Please tell us about your latest book

A true story, my story, of turning forty, wanting a baby and falling for a charming charismatic handsome man – who turned out to be a violent narcissist. He almost killed me and turned my life upside down. It’s a story of love and war. I wanted to tell people about this monster preying on women so that hopefully he can’t do it again.

(BBGuru:  the publisher’s blurb –


Kay Schubach almost has it all – a great job, a beautiful apartment, a life of champagne and mixing it with Sydney’s A-list, and a steady relationship.

By chance she meets handsome and charismatic Simon. He sweeps her off her feet with promises the one thing her younger boyfriend won’t give her – a baby. She takes the biggest risk of her life, leaving all certainties behind for love.

All too quickly, the romance turns sour, and Simon goes from charming to controlling, from magnetic to threatening. By the time Kay uncovers his violent past, Simon has decided he will not let her go – and he’s not a man to be argued with. Trapped in a terrifying relationship, isolated from friends and family, Kay must decided what she values most, and fight for it.

A brutally honest cautionary tale, this is a true story of obsession and desire.)

Click here to buy Perfect Stranger from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online book Shop

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I want to explore and explain people’s motivations and the forces acting on them: from mental illness to domestic violence to the difficulties and wonder of human communication and relationships. I hope to help some people who might otherwise feel isolated by the circumstances they might find themselves in.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

My friend Dr Phillipa Castle. A single mum who raised a gorgeous son, gained her Doctorate, paid off the mortgage and has worked tirelessly without fanfare and little financial reward for ‘at risk’ children and vulnerable families. She has been the most amazing friend to all of us, and I hold her in the highest regard.

In general, for the ‘quiet achievers’. I really admire people who are driven to make a difference for the sake of the cause, not their egos.

My family: extraordinarily generous and non-judgemental people with the kindest hearts in the world

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Having my first book published in my forties and recovering from cancer, I now want to write as much as I can while I can.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

If you can, take some time off from EVERYTHING else and concentrate on doing nothing but writing and researching. You need to hone the writing muscle.

Kay, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Perfect Stranger from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online book Shop

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • Leeanne Willems

    February 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant book! I read it in one night and will read it again very soon, couldn’t put it down. Kay makes you feel like you are right there with her going through her hell. Loved it and looking forward to many more books from her.

  • Diane McKewin

    March 2, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I listened to Kay on The Conversation Hour this week and oh! how I admire her courage an strength in writing her story…I will read it very soon. Kay, I wish you success and happiness.

  • Margot Hays

    March 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Kay, I also listened to you on the ABC radio last Wednesday (29/2/12) driving to Brisbane. How I do admire your courage and open-ness about what happened. It is easy to look back in hindsight. I just hope you are happy now, and just remember whatever happens to us, is meant to somehow teach us something, I believe. Good luck with your book sales.

    Sincerely Margot/Bangalow. NSW (Paradise country)

  • Susan

    May 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Kay,
    Your an inspiration. I know what it’s like be robbed of your self worth and you can be congratulated on your achievement and courage . The book was a non-stop read and I wish you all the best with your writing career.
    Keep it up,

  • Kim

    May 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Kay, haven’t read your book yet although I will, but certainly can understand what you have been through. I’m married now to an amazing man and consider myself very lucky to have him. But many years ago I went through a terribly violent relationship for two years. He also threatened me that he would hurt my family, actually kill my family. I was raped and many times given black eyes and more than I wish to go into. Twice I had a loaded gun pointed at me and once my head put on a block of wood and threatened with an axe. I was very young at the time and back then it was very hard to prove anything in courts to have them convicted. I was lucky to have the support of my family, I came from a very close loving family and knew it was wrong. It was my dad that finally gave me the courage to leave and I will always love him and be grateful for that. Too many women suffer at the hands of these men who are really the scum of the earth. We have come a long way with domestic violence since I went through it, but so much more is needed to be done and I feel for the women who don’t have the support or love from their families, as they are the ones with no one to turn to or help them out of what they are living through. They are the ones who are trapped. I pray for them as no one really knows unless you have been there…………

  • Janice

    May 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I’m reading your book at the moment Kay and it resonates so deeply as my daughter too was seduced and manipulated by a charming, charismatic, controlling, violent thug. The power he had over her (a vivacious, beautiful, intelligent, feisty young woman) was so difficult to comprehend but your story has given me insight into what it must have been like for her. He regularly assaulted her but his SAS training often ensured he did it in a way that left few outward signs. He also threatened to kill her (and claim it was suicide) and kill her family and burn our house down. She finally found the courage to get away and have him charged and, while he was only fined, it was the beginning of a police record that has provided the police with background information and helped empower his subsequent victims to also lay charges.
    He is currently in jail and has further court dates pending.
    Thank you for your cautionary tale. May it help other women listen to their inner misgivings and those of their family and friends before they get enmeshed in a similar situation. And may your own experience serve only to make you stronger.

  • Deli

    May 15, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I agree, great writing. Not being an avid reader, this book I could not put down and read into the early hours to finish it in just 2 nights. You are to be commended for putting your amazing experience out there, such a strong woman who has so much to offer the world! And don’t these guys always go for strong women!

    • kay

      June 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you so much Deli, it really makes me happy to know I have such support.

  • Karol

    June 3, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Thank you for writing the book – I too have had an incredibly similar experience. it shakes your world and nothing is ever the same again to pick up the pieces and regain your trust and love for life is not an easy task. I too am having an operation for cancer cells on tuesday after 7 months out of the relationship. Sometimes its hard to be a survivor but we are…….Good luck

  • December 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Please advise where I can purchase this book. Booktopia – not available.

    • December 30, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Hello Nell,

      The first print run published early last year has run out. But a cheaper edition will be published 30th Jan 2013. Pre-order here

      Some retailers may still have copies of the dearer edition on their shelves. If you need it desperately it may be worth ringing around.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Liesl

    June 30, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I haven’t read the book yet. I have ordered it after the One on One ABC interview. I lived this trauma for 30 years. I stayed because I wanted to protect other woman. What a fool. I forgot about my daughters. I am in the process of writing my story.

    • jen job

      August 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I too have not read this book but will order it asap having also lived with a psychopath for 29 years until I amounted to nothing and was reduced to a door mat.He left me devastated and shattered feeling worthless. I was abused mentally,emotionally,financially,physically and isolated from family and friends whom he manipulated with his charm as psychopaths have a tendency to do.They are likeable people,I know this as I was taken in too and very deceived. My husband I assumed came from a good Christian upbringing. Don’t be fooled they like wolves in sheeps clothing hiding in church behind their religions too. A genuine Christian man would never behave like that.

  • Deb Doyle

    August 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Hello, Kay and readers of Perfect Stranger. I’ve just ordered the book, having heard about it last year via a support group for victims of psychopaths. I wanted to ask Kay and the other readers for advice about how to prosecute the violent, disturbed young man (a ‘rock journalist’) I spent almost five years trapped with (on and off) when I was in my mid-twenties, in the late 1970s and early 80s. A former lawyer and friend has advised me to write a chronological account of what I went through and submit it to the police but that too much time might have elapsed for me to take action in the criminal-court system and that the action would be very expensive. I’ve been happily married for 27 years (with my partner for 31 years) and we three children, but I’ve been traumatised by the emotional and physical scars this monster inflicted on me at a time during which I was very vulnerable, and I’m feeling compelled to open up as Kay has done, now that I’m about to turn 60 and I feel the time is right. I’ve also been traumatised by two other psychopaths: my father and a former ‘friend’ my husband I lent a huge amount of money to (10 years ago) that he never paid us back. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail, in the first instance.


    February 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm


  • Liesl Meuris

    February 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I read this book and thought how brave and hopefully informative for many. I stayed in a highly abusive relationship for 30 years believing that I was able to protect other women from this disastrous man. It was at a high cost but I felt I was winning.

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