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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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Celebrating two new books from Caroline de Costa

March 4, 2019

I’m really looking forward to being the Master of Ceremonies at Caroline de Costa‘s double book launch. Double? On April 6, 2019, from 3:30pm to 7pm at Glee Books in Glebe, Wild Dingo Press will be celebrating the second and third books in the Cass Diamond crime fiction series – Missing Pieces and Blood Sisters. The wonderful Professor Sue Turnbull will interview Caroline about her writing. This event is supported by Sisters In Crime Australia and is open to everyone interested in crime fiction. I really hope you can join us.

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A.B. Patterson book launch

January 16, 2019

I’m proud to say I am friends with a number of former and acting police officers, both in Australia and overseas. Some have gone on to write great crime novels such as Paul Finch. Others choose to advise authors. I know I couldn’t write my detective/PI characters without the input of good friend David Gaylor, retired detective chief superintendent with Sussex CID in the UK, who also works with international bestseller, Peter James.
So I am very proud to be introducing A.B. Patterson at his book launch on Sunday, Harry’s Quest. A.B. Patterson is an award-winning Australian writer who knows first-hand about corruption, power, crime and sex. He was a Detective Sergeant in the WA Police, working in paedophilia and vice, and later he was a Chief Investigator with the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. In Harry’s Quest, PI Harry Kenmare is back, with a visceral lust for vengeance. If you like your detective novels hard-boiled, you will love this one.
Why not come to the launch on Sunday 20 January 2019 in Glebe, Sydney, at 3pm? Free event and free drinks, but please book via EventBrite here.

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On genre – don’t get hung out to dry

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.

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Sharing writing secrets on Peter James TV

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!

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Steve Berry’s twelve rules of fiction writing

September 19, 2018

As I prepare to teach a class of aspiring writers at the Australian Writers’ Centre in October, I’m reminded of the advice I received from the New York Times Bestselling Author, Steve Berry, recently. He shared with me his Twelve Rules of Fiction Writing and I’d like to share them with you, too. Here they are:

1. There are no rules. I love this rule, but I would like to add that there are reader expectations, especially genre specific expectations, and it’s a good idea to know what they are before you break them.
2. Don’t bore the reader – his list included a dull plot, not enough conflict in the story, long-winded paragraphs, and words the reader has to look up because they jolt a reader from the the world of the book.
3. Don’t confuse the reader, such as whose point of view is the reader following.
4. Don’t get caught writing. Don’t be an intrusive author. His example was this. A young kid is in danger, then his parents save him, they drive away. The kid looks back at the house where he almost died. Where his best friend lives. He’d never see that house again, is author intrusion. Better to say, he had a bad feeling he would never see that house again.
5. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you promise shock value, you’re setting high expectations. Steve doesn’t like to build up to the shock, he just gives it to the reader.
6. Don’t lie to the reader. But you can mislead if it’s in character. For instance, you can have a delusional character. The author chooses what goes on in that character’s head.
7. Don’t annoy the reader. For example, don’t overdo an accent. Or keep using a particular word all the time. Or be predictable.
8. Writing is rewriting. Steve says he goes through his manuscripts 70 times. He does his own copy edits.
9. Writing is rhythm. Getting into the nuances of the characters’ voices.
10. Short is always better. Steve is not a fan of the more British style of writing with parentheses and complex sentences. I’m a believer that succinct and punchy is best, especially in times of action. But there are times when longer sentences can be very powerful. John Le Carre is a master of the longer sentence that reveals so much.
11. Story never takes a holiday. Don’t stop the momentum of the story to explain. Show don’t tell.
12. Tell a good story. Good story trumps good writing every time. Although I would add, always strive to write well and with impact.

You can find more about Steve Berry here.
You can find details of how to enroll in Creative Writing Stage 1 with the Australian Writers Centre here. It starts Monday October 15, 2018.

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