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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!

Writers’ Resources

June 7, 2010

The journey to becoming a published author can sometimes be quite daunting, no matter how good your writing skills. But there are resources out there to help you along your writing and publishing journey and here are just some of those I found helpful, not just in terms of advice, but also support. I believe there are two things a budding author needs to succeed – apart from the ability to write well – and these are: the discipline to write and re-write until the novel is the very best it can be, and someone who believes in you and encourages you. I am afraid I can’t help with the last two, but I can suggest some helpful resources and tips …

Writers’ resources

Sydney Writers’ Centre

The Writers’ Studio

Varuna The Writers’ House

The Australian Writer’s Marketplace

Australian Society of Authors

Sisters in Crime

International Thriller Authors

Some tips on preparing your novel for publication

Writing the novel:

  • Takes hard work, discipline and time.
  • Try to have a writing routine – Alexander McCall Smith and Stephen King believe in writing every day without fail
  • Read your genre and learn from the masters of your genre
  • Don’t write novels to make money – initially, you don’t. Most Australian authors have a second job
  • Get yourself an editor. But, make sure they know the rules of your genre
  • Join professional organisations that can help you. For example, The Australian Society of Authors, NSW Writers’ Centre
  • Be part of a writers group – for feedback and support

Some questions you should ask yourself before you go down the publishing path:

  • Is my manuscript the best it can be?
  • Does my opening sentence / paragraph / chapter hook the reader?
  • Is my story climax satisfying / rewarding?
  • Am I prepared for rejection?
  • What is my elevator pitch?

To whom should you send your submission?

  • Check the Australian Writers’ Marketplace
  • Don’t waste your time and their time by submitting your work to agents or publishers who don’t cater for your genre
  • Follow their submission guidelines
  • Don’t pester or rely on gimmicks, but do follow up if you don’t hear within the time stated by the manuscript recipient
  • I would advise you pitch to an agent, rather than a publisher, but other authors may advise differently.

How to write a pitch letter:

  • Keep it short and double check spelling, correct names etc. This is a demonstration of your writing skills, so make it powerful.
  • Think about who will be reading it and what they might be looking for
  • Read the book reviews sections of papers so you learn about publishers
  • Define your genre, who you compete with in book stores, and what makes your book different
  • Know who will buy your book
  • What qualifies you to write this book – does your background give you credibility?
  • Have a short bio, highlighting things that demonstrate your writing skills and knowledge of your subject
  • Write you back of book blurb – this sells the story. It will help you focus on the crux of your story, and your publisher may ask you for it later.

What I have found agents / publishers are looking for in thrillers:

  • Something that excites, captivates and emotionally engages
  • Something they think will sell
  • Longevity – have you already written your second book or do you have a synopsis for it? Are you more than a one book wonder?
  • Is the timing right? Is your story topical? Is an agent looking for a new thriller author to add to his / her list?
  • Are you personally marketable?

Learning from the masters

If, like me, you are writing thrillers, then there is nothing better than to learn your craft from the masters themselves. Here are a few of my favourite thriller / crime authors:

John Le Carre

Michael Robotham

John Grisham

Robert Ludlum (sadly no longer with us)

Lee Child

Michael Connelly

Mark Billingham

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Everything You HAVE TO KNOW about Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in your food may make you sick. Studies link GMOs with toxins, allergies, infertility, infant mortality, immune dysfunction, stunted growth, accelerated aging, and death. Whistleblowers were fired, threatened, and gagged. Warnings by FDA scientists were ignored. Expert Jeffrey M. Smith, author of the #1 GMO bestseller Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette, presents SHOCKING evidence why these gene-spliced crops may lead to health and environmental catastrophes. Learn how to protect yourself and discover the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America—a brilliant plan to quickly end the genetic engineering of our food supply.



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What is Genetically Modified Food?

If the old saying is true that we are what we eat, Americans may want to sit up and take notice: the Center for Food Safety has estimated that up to 75% of processed foods on grocery store shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients. Even the most health-conscious individuals have likely been unable to avoid consuming genetically modified foods, especially since food distributors are not required by law to label them. We explore why some people wanted to alter the composition of crops in the first place, how GM food can impact your health, and what your elected representatives are doing in response to public concern. This is a lot to digest (so to speak), but we are confident you will emerge a more alert consumer.

At a local farmers market, we ask some of San Diego’s most health-conscious consumers if they’re aware of genetically modified foods. Continue watching to study the science behind the modification process.



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The Genesis Flaw will be in all good Australian and New Zealand bookshops from 2 August 2010. This means it will be available well in advance of Father’s Day on Sunday 5 September. So buy one for you, and one for dad too!


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