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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

Media and Reviews

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The Narratives Library offers help to Australian authors with new books to publicize

March 23, 2020

This wonderful offer to help Australian authors share the news of their new books was emailed to me by my good friend Karena Wynn-Moylan, founder of The Narratives Libraryry which is the world’s largest online archive of authors reading small extracts of their own work.

In her own words, here is her offer:

Last year it received over one million hits and continues to offer authors a unique platform for their work combining both online and radio platforms through the programs of its founder and radio award winner Karena Wynn-Moylan.
The ever increasing list of cancelled literary events is a blow to authors and publishers and also the Library which aims to add between 50 and 60 new authors each year from attending Festivals and related literary events.
The library is a (currently) unfunded labour of love which exists to bring the world’s attention to the value of books and literature.
As we can’t attend in person to make recordings for some time, we would like to invite all authors and publishers to take advantage of the following offer-
Karena is happy to do a phone interview with any author who has a book to promote.
This interview will be used in several ways to promote the author’s work.
1. Broadcast on Arts Canvass BayFM 99.9 -longest running Arts program on Byron Bay’s Bay FM 99.9 – every Thursday 9am-11am for 22 years! ( We can also do giveaways of authors books if you send us a copy)
2. Placed in our weekly posts from the Narratives Library website which are then kept permanently online.The posts will have the book cover, a head pic of the author and the interview. Images will link to Booktopia to help promote sales. Posts are also shared through Facebook and Linked In.
3. The interview will also be sent out in our ‘Quickpods’ program which goes through Libsyn Podcast Syndication to more than eight locations online. We will include a pic of the book cover. We can also combine the interview with other authors on ‘themes’ for longer productions. (Quickpods – one author, one interview, sometimes a read- distributed through Libsyn- the world’s longest running Podcast Syndicate, available on Spotify, Libsyn, Apple and Android). Quickpods are also shared on social media.
4. We are also happy to include authors in our regular library Category listings if they can provide a clear recording of themselves reading a 5 minutes ( or so) extract from their book .
Please note- for audio quality purposes we still can’t do these reads over the phone, only an interview.

Interested authors and publishers/publicists just need to email us at:
We’ll get back and between us we can set up a phone interview of around 10-15 minutes with your author. They will need to ring us on a special number at an arranged time which we will supply when confirming.
The time should be during the day, but we can do weekends if necessary.
It helps to have a copy of the book sent beforehand – Narratives Library, 3 Market St, Bangalow. NSW 2479 – but if that isn’t possible we can manage on PR material.
All our material is also freely available for you and your author to use for your own promotion.
To understand more about the Narratives Library, and read our hints on self recording check out our FAQ’s page at

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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!

YouTube of L.A. Larkin talking about writing techniqes on Peter James TV

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‘Why is location so critical for thrillers?’ asks the Book Trail

August 17, 2017

In a few weeks’ time I fly to Stirling in Scotland to participate in crime fiction festival Bloody Scotland. I’ll be on a panel with authors Tony Black and J.G. Sinclair discussing the locations of our most recent thrillers, and how we use location to enhance mood and heighten danger. The Book Trail did a Q & A interview with me on this very topic and I’d love to share it with you here. If for any reason the link doesn’t work, it is transcribed below:

Why is location important?
You hear estate agents go on about ‘location, location, location.’ But the location of a novel is just as important. The right location can add a whole new level of interest for the reader. It can even become a character in the book, as Antarctica does in my previous thriller, Thirst. In Thirst I want the reader to feel a connection to the great white continent because it is the central character’s love of Antarctica that makes him its champion, and he will almost die trying to protect it.

Location is also a way to enhance the mood of a scene. A dark and dank abandoned warehouse can be menacing, whereas, the clear blue skies and sunshine after a raging blizzard, can suggest hope. I think one of the best examples to demonstrate the link between mood and location is in Joseph Conrad’s classic, Heart of Darkness. The jungle is a brooding presence that becomes increasingly threatening the closer Marlow gets to finding Kurtz. The jungle is almost a living, breathing character.

I choose the locations for my thrillers carefully. They need to be the best place to tell each story. As I write fast-moving thrillers, full of danger and menace, I can use location to enhance the threat, as I do in the opening chapter of Devour, in which Kevin Knox is left to die in an Antarctic ‘white out’, an extreme blizzard. If I’m writing an action scene, I like to locate it somewhere that makes it more threatening for my hero. For Olivia Wolfe in Devour, it’s a remote Antarctic camp, and an attack on her life when she’s alone in a tent at night.

Why did you pick the location you did?
I follow Antarctic scientific developments and expedition news, and came across the Lake Ellsworth expedition in 2012, led by Professor Martin Siegert of the UK’s Grantham Institute. I was fascinated by the idea that inside sub-glacial lakes, buried for centuries beneath thick ice, life could exist that has never before had contact with humans. A question immediately sprang to mind: what if bringing this microbial like to the surface was a very bad idea. This became the premise of Devour.
Your books are based on real events. Can you tell us more?
The premise of Devour was inspired by a real Antarctic expedition in 2012, in which a small team of scientists attempted to drill down through three kilometres of ice to reach sub-glacial Lake Ellsworth, which had been buried for centuries. Sadly, they didn’t succeed. But in Devour, they do succeed in bringing ancient microbial life to the surface. Little do they know the catastrophe they are about to unleash.

How on earth did you do the research you did?
I have spent time in Antarctica and this experience enabled me to write about this alien and savage place with a confidence I don’t think I would have had if I hadn’t been there. Antarctica is unlike any place I have ever been. I had not experienced such extreme cold before. It was only by going there that I could convey not just what it looks like, but also what is feels like, smells like, tastes like, and sounds like. I was lucky enough to get on a Russian, former scientific exploration ice breaker, heading for Antarctica. I also spent time at British Antarctica Survey in Cambridge and the Australian Antarctic Division in Tasmania, Australia, talking to their explorers and scientists, and learning Polar survival techniques.

Any tips for people in Scotland on how to deal with the cold (not on a level with what you’re used to!)
Antarctica is the last great untouched wilderness, a continent the size of Europe, and the location of the coldest temperature ever recorded, which is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F). However, if you travel to Antarctica in the summer, you will experience temperatures from −40 °C to a toasty 0 °C. I imagine Scotland knows temperatures like these. To avoid frost bite, keep your face, hands and feet covered as best you can, wear layers of clothing, and always ensure your ship, camp, or station knows exactly where you are at any given time. Blizzards can materialise very quickly and you may need rescuing!

Living in Australia, then England, books set in Antarctica….that is quite a scale in temperature! Where next? anywhere hot?
Prey is the next book in the Olivia Wolfe Thriller Series, and this one is set in warmer climes – South Africa.

You’re an adventurer at heart. What does adventure mean to you?
Everything! That’s why I tend to write action- adventure thrillers. Adventure means exploring our beautiful planet, testing myself, and expanding my mind. Without an adventure to look forward to I would go stir crazy.

Favourite cultural thing from each of the three countries
Australia: Favourite phrase: No worries! Favourite cultural thing: drinking wine outside the Sydney Opera House on a sunny day, watching the boats on the harbour.
England/Scotland: Favourite food: Fish and chips and mushy peas, and English/Scottish beer. Australians complain the beer from the tap is warm. I like it that way! Favourite phrase or word: Bastard! It sounds more biting when you say it with an English (or indeed Scottish) accent.
Antarctica: Favourite phrase: white out. It says everything in two words. Favourite cultural thing: meeting penguins and letting them pack my boots!

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Five star review of Out Of Bounds by Val McDermid

July 21, 2017

A chilling mystery told with compassion and wit, and a central character I feel I know like a best friend.

Cold case detective, Karen Pirie, the central character in Out Of Bounds, is a beautifully flawed, compassionate, ballsy, obsessive, lonely character. Even when times are tough for her, she can be generous to those in trouble, including her less-than-bright side-kick, and a group of Syrian refugees. In fact I love how subtly McDermid weaves into the narrative the contentious issue of what happens to refugees as they are being processed for asylum.

Pirie finds herself trying to solve not one, but three cases: the rape and murder of Tina McDonald twenty-odd years ago, a current suicide which she believes is murder, and a bombing of a light aircraft twenty-two years ago for which the IRA was blamed. And McDermid weaves theses plots together brilliantly.

I remember watching a YouTube interview of Val McDermid by Peter James in which she was asked, ‘What is the question you least like being asked?’ Her reply was, ‘How do I come up with my ideas.’ With over thirty published books to her name, there is no doubt that the wonderful McDermid has no shortage of ideas for great stories and continues to captivate our hearts and imaginations.

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