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Tara Moss was a 22-year old model from Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, when she arrived in Australia in 1996 with her husband, Martin Legge. According to Moss, she was on a modelling assignment to Australia and just fell in love with the people and the lifestyle. According to the gossip writers, her husband’s problems with the Canadian IRS were also a factor in their decision to remain in Australia. She has held dual Australian and Canadian citizenship since 2002.

Tara had always wanted to be an author, ever since she penned Stephen-King type stories to thrill her pals at the age of 10. She gained a diploma from the Australian College of Journalism in 1997, and the next year won the Scarlett Stiletto Young Writer’s Award for her story, Psycho Magnet. Her debut novel, Fetish, was written when she was 23, and published in 1999. It went on to win the Sassy Award for Best Novel that year, and was shortlisted for the 2000 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Novel.

The protagonist of the story is a Canadian model, who is tall, blonde and beautiful. However, modelling is just a way for her to pay her fees so she can gain a degree in forensic psychology. While on a modelling assignment in Sydney, she finds herself caught up in a terrifying hunt for a serial killer who is targeting beautiful models who wear nice shoes.

You can follow the adventures of this tall, blonde and beautiful Canadian ex-model through four more thrillers with snappy one-word titles, and all of them have ended up on the best-sellers list and gained reviews that describe them as “smart and sexy” and compare the author to Patricia Cornwell. Last year she branched into Gothic thrillers with The Blood Countess, about a naive small-town girl who works on a New York fashion magazine where everything turns spooky. It’s been described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Devil Wears Prada.

Tara takes her writing career extremely seriously, and in the process of researching her novels has been set on fire, choked unconscious, taken polygraph tests, used weapons, and conducted surveillance. She’s toured morgues, prisons, law courts, The FBI Academy at Quantico, and the Hare Psychopathy Lab. She’s a certified private investigator, has passed a firearms test with the LAPD, has a race car driving license, a motorcycle license, and a snake handling certificate (for her pet python, Thing).

As a result of this attention to detail and professional attitude, her career has been successful and even illustrious. A confident, intelligent and unpretentious speaker with a pleasantly deep voice and light accent, she often appears on TV for interviews and opinion pieces. She is a popular guest at literary festivals, has hosted televison series on criminals and crime writing, and reviews other people’s novels. She is the first writer to have a star on the Australia Walk of Fame.

Her private life has been much as you’d expect for a tall, blonde and beautiful ex-model whose beauty and glamour has never waned. She shrugged off the embarassing first husband by the end of 1996 and began dating a well-known actor. She has been romantically linked to wealthy businessmen, multimillionaires, heirs to fortunes, and high-profile athletes and performers. She managed to squeeze in a two-year marriage to a film producer who’s a good friend of Hugh Jackman.

Obviously she was never going to have any problems attracting men, but according to an interview I watched on TV a year or two ago, she said she kept attracting the wrong type of man – wealthy older men who wanted a trophy wife. Not interested in being kept as a display item, she did what any modern single woman would do, and signed up with an online dating site in 2007. (In fact, the story I saw was about how great online dating is for older people).

Well, you can guess what happens when you put up a photo of yourself looking tall, blonde, beautiful and glamorous, and write on your profile you’re an ex-model who is now a famous author. The dating site removes your profile at once, because obviously it’s a fake! Uh yeah … Tara Moss is on our dating site – like, as if!

Now what happens next becomes a bit of a mystery. I distinctly recall Tara saying in the TV interview that she got her agent to contact the dating service, and they confirmed it really was Tara Moss, and her profile was returned to the dating site, where, in the fullness of time, she met her future husband.

However, in this article, Tara is quoted as saying that it was only in the two days before the website removed her profile that she managed to make contact with her future husband, and they began to get to know each other just as she was “booted off”. And in this article, Tara says that her future husband is an old friend that she’d met many years ago through literary circles, and that their relationship had evolved naturally out of their long friendship.

However, whatever the truth, somehow or other Tara met Dr. Berndt Sellheim, an Australian poet and philosophy professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. In February 2009 they got engaged at dawn on the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris; the city where Dr. Sellheim received his Ph.D. In December that year, they were married at a Margaret River winery, where Tara looked stunning in a scarlet dress and antique jewellery.

On February 22 this year, Tara and Berndt welcomed their first child, a daughter named Sapphira Jane who weighed 3.3 kg. Rather than selling her baby pictures to a magazine, Tara released a photo of she and Berndt cuddling their new daughter on her own website. She describes motherhood as “a blissful experience”.

“I am very content,” she said. “I can’t say how she has changed my life but she has changed everything. My life is bigger; it is full of more joy on so many levels. [Motherhood] is beautiful.”

Sapphira is a name from the Greek, meaning “sapphire”; it’s pronounced suh-FEE-ruh. Apparently, Sapphira Sellheim-Moss received her name because of her blue eyes. In the New Testament, Sapphira is an early Christian who is struck dead by the Holy Spirit for lying – a story I always felt didn’t show the Holy Spirit in a very good light, and no doubt the Holy Spirit took the blame for a harsh justice handed out by humans. It’s a chilling story of crime and punishment oddly suitable for the name of a crime-writer’s daughter.

I think this is a beautiful name – glittering, poetic, evocative, literary, and slightly eccentric. Brought down to earth and given substance by the classic, sensible middle name Jane, it takes on an almost aristocratic feel.

You would expect two writers to devise a great baby name, and Tara and Berndt have come up with a cracker. Two enthusiastic thumbs up from me!

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