‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox
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Welcome to my blog, Larkin’s Latest. News on thriller authors and the latest crime fiction, the writing process and festivals, people I interview and exciting story locations, courses I run, and things that make me laugh!
October 26, 2018
Wise words from The Writers’ Studio on genre ‘Each genre has a different structural form designed to take a character and reader on a particular journey.’ When I was working on my first thriller, I commissioned an editor to do a structural edit of my work. I wanted it to be the best it possibly could be, before I pitched it to a literary agent. Unfortunately for me, the editor sent me off in the wrong direction because, I discovered later, she didn’t know what readers and publishers expected of the thriller genre. So I wasted 6 months correcting the ensuing mistakes. Lesson learned.
Thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been likened to Michael Crichton by The Guardian and Alistair MacLean by The Times. The Genesis Flaw was nominated for four crime fiction awards and Thirst described as, ‘The best Antarctic thriller since Ice Station’. Devour, the first book in the Olivia Wolfe thriller series, is published by Constable in the UK and by Hachette in Australia and New Zealand. An adventurer at heart, Larkin has spent time in the Antarctic, and with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and the Australian Antarctic Division.
She is currently working on a psychological crime-thriller set in Seattle and an Olivia Wolfe thriller set in South Africa.
L. A. Larkin was born in England and studied literature at the University of London’s Royal Holloway College, graduating with honours. She lives in Sydney and London, and teaches mystery and thriller writing.
Larkin also writes humorous mysteries as Louisa Bennet.
At ThrillerFest 2018 the wonderful Karin Slaughter used a quote from Louis Pasteur which really sums up what this writers’ festival is all about: preparing authors to be great authors.
I’m lucky enough to have had four books published: three with Hachette and one with Harper Collins. I have two new manuscripts. I’ve attended many writers’ festival in the UK and Australia. This was my first time at ThrillerFest and I have never felt so inspired. I learnt a lot, not just about how to make my writing better, but how to manage the business of being an author. I met new authors I hope will remain friends for life. I met best selling authors like Lee Child, Meg Gardiner, Steve Berry and James Rollins. All, without exception, were generous with their time and advice, and above all, inclusive and welcoming. Being an author can be a lonely business, and it’s great to be reminded that we are part of a warm and friendly author community.
Over the next few blog posts, I’d like to share with you some of the insights I gained from this experience and also some of the funny stories.
I’m going to start with the mega authors panel of Lee Child, Robert Dugoni, Peter James, Lynda La Plante and Karin Slaughter. This had to be one of the funniest panel discussions I attended. Why? Because they are consummate entertainers. Let me give some examples. Lee Child has an hilarious dry wit. The panel was asked about literary authors and whether they looked down on thriller authors. Lee jumped straight in. Thrillers keep publishers solvent. Sales from thrillers enable literary authors to do what they love. Literary authors are, he said with a wry smile on his face, ‘the barnacles on our boat.’ The audience loved it. Peter James was asked about how he went from a few thousand copies sold to millions. He replied, ‘You have to live a long time,’ then went on to tell us the ups and downs of his writing career.
The panelists’ stories of rejection and near-disaster reminded us all that the path to success as a writer is rocky, even for the best sellers. Robert Dugoni talked about his early career. His first few books didn’t do well. In fact, he was at ThrillerFest some years ago when his publisher told him he was being dropped. Robert had to reinvent himself as an author. It wasn’t until My Sister’s Grave that he got his big break.
Lynda La Plante stressed that ‘rejection does not mean no.’ Her first Jane Tennison novel was rejected many times because there was a female central character. But she kept going. Peter James’ first book, Dead Letter Drop, only sold 1800 copies in the UK. He switched from action thrillers to detective stories after he was burgled and the police officer who investigated the crime offered Peter help with police procedural information. This led to Peter’s hugely successful DSI Roy Grace series.
My final take-out from this panel is to pay attention to how the great thriller authors write but don’t be afraid to do what your heart is telling you to do. As Lee Child said, ‘a book needs the author’s personal integrity.’ He said, ‘the spark and life can be beaten out of it if you listen to everyone. We are all waiting for the next big thing, not the same thing reinvented.’
If you have any thoughts or questions on this post, please post them on my Facebook or Twitter sites. I’d love to help.
October 11, 2018
I always get so excited when I am about to start teaching a creative writing class. Not just because I want to encourage new authors, but because it also makes me question how I write. How could I do better? Have I picked up some bad habits? At the end of the course I feel I have learnt something too. Recently, I was particularly proud to present Sarah Bailey with a Ned Kelly Award for First Crime Fiction for The Dark Lake. Sarah attended one of my thriller writing courses and she was lovely enough to thank me for inspiring her. I wish her the very best of luck with her writing career.
The next creative writing course starts on October 15 and runs on Thursday evenings over five consecutive weeks. If you are in Sydney and have a burning desire to write a novel but you’re not sure where to start, then why not come along to Creative Writing Stage 1 at the Australian Writers Centre?
About a year ago, I was interviewed for Peter James’s YouTube channel, Peter James TV. I was asked questions about how I write, where I write, and the tricks and techniques I employ. These interviews are part of a series called The Authors’ Studio in which authors like Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, CJ Box, Sophie Hannah and more, share their writing secrets. And a few laughs. They are well worth visiting. Enjoy!
UK publicity: Midas PR, London
Australian publicity: Hachette
New Zealand publicity: Hachette
Public speaking: Booked Out
UK Literary Agent: Marjacq, Phil Patterson
Constable / Little, Brown,
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London, EC4Y 0DZ, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3122 7000