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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!

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Proofreading – the final step

March 6, 2020

Proofreading. The final step. I just have to check for any obvious errors. Small things like punctuation. Or a piece of dialogue on the wrong line so it is confusing as to who is speaking. That sort of thing. The layout looks great. It finally looks like a book. Then I realize there’s a consistency error which is my fault. I make a change that won’t alter the layout at all. I tailor the words to fit the space available then leave a nice note apologizing. Phew! Done. I now hope the proofreader will forgive me. My next novel, PREY, goes on sale mid-April through Bloodhound Books. Not long now…

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Mystery author Adele Parks at Sutherland Library NSW, February 11

January 6, 2020

Many years ago, when I was struggling to write my first novel, I attended a writing course in Guildford in the UK. This course was run by Adele Parks and her advice made a world of difference to my writing. I have a lot to thank her for. When my first novel, The Genesis Flaw, was published we shared a bottle of bubbly and celebrated. Years have gone by and Adele’s fame has continued to grow. Imagine how excited I was when her Australian publisher and Sisters in Crime Australia, asked me to do an ‘in conversation’ event with Adele for her new book, Lies Lies Lies – a suburban noir novel that explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets. It will grab you from the very first page and you just won’t want to put the book down!

I have no doubt the evening at Sutherland Library NSW will be a blast. So please come along.

Tickets available through EventBrite here

Venue: Sutherland Library NSW

Date: 11 February 2020, at 6:30 pm

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The relief and the worry of finishing a new book

October 20, 2019

I recently finished a new crime-thriller set on an island off Seattle in the USA. I think it’s my creepiest book yet and I hope it will keep readers guessing until the very end. I feel such an enormous sense of relief and satisfaction when the book is written and ready to be shown to the world. But in the next moment, I feel a nervousness. Will readers like it? Is it good enough? I guess time will tell. But I can honestly say that the theme of this novel means a lot to me and I have fallen in love with two of my characters – Stephanie Miller and FBI agent T.J. Samson, so I’m hoping the characters come across as real and genuine at the very least.

Here’s a little hint about the story of this new thriller…
It’s the story of a young American widow and her daughter who move to a remote island to start a new life, only to be stalked by a sadistic troll. But he is no ordinary troll, and she is no ordinary victim. Why do powerful people want Professor Stephanie Miller’s reputation trashed?

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The difference a good editor makes

March 19, 2019

The book I’m working on at the moment is a slightly new direction for me. It’s still a thriller. But what is different is that this story is about a woman under attack when she is at her most vulnerable. A woman who has lost her courage and who must find it again if she, and her daughter, are to survive the threats they face. It’s also unusual for me, because there are three points of view. I’m a huge admirer of Michael Robotham who writes so exquisitely in first person, present tense. As does Tana French in The Trespasser. I normally use the third person past tense, popular in many genres, including thrillers. But many psychological thrillers employed the first person tense, so I decided to challenge myself and I wrote of the story with three first person present tense points of view, which has to be the hardest thing I have done since I started writing novels, especially when it came to the psychopath character. I can tell you from my numerous re-writes that creating a convincing psychopath in first person is incredibly tough.

The upshot is I had a draft ready for review. I’d done the very best I could do. I knew something wasn’t quite right. But I was too involved in the story to see what that was. To add to the complication, I decided to set this novel in the U.S.A, with all American characters, except one minor character. This took me into a whole new world in which the front ‘deck’ is a ‘porch’ and the baby’s ‘pram’ is a ‘stroller’. I set the story in a location I know well, which helped. It was perfect for the climax I had planned. An island. On top of all this, I needed the FBI character to be interesting and credible. So I needed to find someone within the FBI, who worked in the office where my story is set, who was willing to speak to me. I was incredibly privileged to spend two hours with an FBI Special Agent who gave me a fascinating insight into what it was really like working for the FBI. I left that meeting in awe. I could never face the challenges and horror they face everyday. They truly are amazing people.

But still, despite all this fabulous input, there was still something not quite right about this new thriller of mine.
So I searched for an editor. One particular editor was recommended to me, Gretchen Stelter from Cogitate Studios.
Gretchen explained what was wrong with the manuscript and what was right. She understood what I was trying to achieve. She gave me detailed examples of where it wasn’t working. We brainstormed the issues. I suggested ways I would solve them. She would comment and build on those ideas. Suddenly I could see what I had to do to make this this novel the spine-tingling and terrifying thriller I had intended. I could pinpoint where I had gone wrong and now I had a clear path to correct it. I knew how to make this novel zing.
It was exciting and motivating.
I’m all fired up as I write the new draft.
This, in my mind, is what a really good editor does for a writer. But these special editors are rare. I feel very privileged to have found one I work so well with and who knows how to fix my novel. Thank you, Gretchen.

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