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‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Larkin's Latest

Welcome to my blog, Larkin’s Latest. News on thriller authors and great books to read, the writing process and festivals, incredible people I interview and exciting story locations, courses I run, and things that make me laugh!

John Birmingham’s Cheeseburger Gothic blog features extract from THIRST

May 2, 2013

Delighted John Birmingham chose an extract from Thirst for his tell-em-how-it-is, hilariously funny and deeply thoughtful blog, Cheeseburger Gothic. No wonder John was a finalist in the Best Australian Blog competition 2013. Congrats, JB!

Having just signed up with UK literary agent extraordinaire, Phil Patterson, of Marjacq Scripts, I read this piece on literary agents and nodded sagely in between laughs. JB says it loud and clear with a motherfucker or two thrown in for good measure: if you’re an aspiring author and your manuscript is ready, then GET YOURSELF AN AGENT! They are worth their weight in gold. Here’s his blog on agents.

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Upcoming writers’ festivals

March 6, 2013

Recently, I was asked by my thriller writing students about upcoming writers’ festivals for crime fiction lovers. So I thought I would briefly outline some of the festivals I will be attending in the first half of 2013:

The Perth Writers’ Festival is over for this year but I had an absolute ball. This year the festival attracted really wonderful authors from all over the world, such as China Mieville (UK), Shamini Flint (Singapore) and one of my all-time favourite authors, Margaret Atwood. I couldn’t resist getting a quick photo of us together at the Perth Concert Hall!


In two weeks’ time I’ll be at the Tasmanian Writers’ Festival and am looking forward to discussing crime fiction with Lindy Cameron.

From 5 – 7 April I’ll be at the Newcastle Writers’ Festival and am delighted to be both participating in panels and chairing them. I’ll be joined by crime fiction authors Jaye Ford, Wendy James and Caroline Overington.

On 17 and 18 June I’ll be at the Gold Coast Literati Festival. So if you live in the area and love books, then come along. You’ll have a blast!

From 30 May to 2 June I’ll be at the UK’s mega-exciting CrimeFest 2013, held in Bristol. I am so looking forward to meeting up with the wonderful Peter James, whom I met at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and Peter Guttridge, whom I met at the Guildford Book Festival in the UK. I can’t wait to hear Jeffery Deaver and Robert Goddard speak. I’ll be doing a panel called ‘Is It Rocket Science?’ on 31 May. If you are going to this festival and you see me around, please come up and say hello.

From 12 – 14 July I’ll be at the Whitsunday Writers’ Festival – yes a book festival in paradise! I’ll be running a one day thriller writing workshop as well as joining a whole raft of authors to talk about the writing process. There’s never been a better excuse to book a long weekend holiday! I hope to see you there.

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Join me at the Willoughby Author’s Club

February 7, 2013

The Willoughby Hotel, Sydney, is a great supporter of book clubs and is launching a series of evenings with authors from various genres.

I am delighted to be the inaugural author for these events, so please join me on Wednesday 20th March, 7pm, for fun, thrills and laughter as we delve into the murky world of thrillers.

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books that changed me

The Sydney Morning Herald asked me to name five Books That Changed Me, and here is the link to the interview, which was published today. As a thriller author I suspect it won’t surprise anyone to discover that John Grisham and John le Carré are on my list. But what about Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens? How did they get on my Top 5?

Below is the interview transcript, in full, and I’d love to know which authors have inspired you to love books, or to write them:

Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series enthralled me as a child. Here were books packed full of the kind of adventures I wanted to experience. I imagined I was George, the tomboy: if only I had my own mysterious island, like the character! Through Blyton, I fell in love with books and their power to transport me into a magical world: treasure, smuggling, kidnapping and ruined castles and a brave dog that fearlessly bit nasty people. What more could a child with a vivid imagination want!
I have wept and laughed through all of Charles Dickens’ books but Oliver Twist has to be my favourite because of the great characters and Dickens’ biting, witty turn of phrase: “Tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. Bumble’s soul; his heart was waterproof”. What I learned from Dickens was that the novel can be both entertaining and poignant social and political commentary. I realised, then, that all creative endeavour seeks to explain the human condition.
I have always been fascinated by the “what if?” of science and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park ignited my fascination for science-based thrillers. Crichton was a master of taking his research and turning it into high-drama, disaster thrillers. His stories were about topics he felt passionate about and only once, in my opinion, did he press his point of view too far, in the highly controversial State of Fear. The lesson for me: thrillers are about entertainment. They can be thought-provoking. But never tell your readers what to think.
John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief blew me away not only because it was about environmental destruction and a conspiracy that reaches all the way up to the U.S. president, but because the hero is a clever and resourceful woman, Darby Shaw. This for me was ground-breaking – for once, she wasn’t the helpless damsel in distress. Most exciting of all, this was one of the early, high-profile environmental thrillers, and was part of a new sub-genre that included Michael Crichton.
In The Constant Gardener, John le Carré – the master of the spy thriller – reinvented himself and produced a powerful political thriller. This book challenged the genre, with its far-from-traditional hero and its less-than-happy ending. Le Carré demonstrated so beautifully that it’s not what you say, but how you say it, and I believe that his mastery of language makes him one of the greatest authors of our time. “A good writer can watch a cat pad across the street and know what it is to be pounced upon by a Bengal tiger.”

What books changed you?

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