Interview / Thriller / Workshop

Getting Chills with L.A. Larkin

This Wednesday, September 5th, from 6-8pm, acclaimed thriller Author L.A. Larkin will be visiting the Writers’ Centre to run Writing to Thrill: a seminar on thriller writing. While gearing up to visit Canberra, we caught L.A. Larkin somewhere between her fascination with Antarctica and her email inbox, in that broad and intangible lounge room-ether we call the Internet.

ACTWC: You studied and worked for a while prior to having novels published – at what point did you decide to prioritise writing, and what catalysed the change?

L.A. Larkin: I studied Literature at The University of London but it wasn’t until I had been though a successful career in magazine publishing and then worked for a climate change consultancy that I went on an introduction to novel writing course and discovered that I could write fiction! This gave me the courage to start writing a thriller (my favourite genre) which was then published by Murdoch Books as The Genesis Flaw. I was lucky to have a very supportive employer, Energetics, and went part time so I could spend more time on my writing.

ACTWC: Your latest novel, Thirst, is set in the icy Antarctic (the title and setting reminding us vividly of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (coincidence?)) we understand you took the time to travel there – what do you think of the age-old saying you should ‘write what you know’?

Larkin: Absolutely write what you know. I would add to that saying, ‘and write what you love’. I am fascinated by global, political and environmental issues and my passion for the topic drives me to write the best thriller I possibly can. I did indeed spend time in Antarctica because practically the whole of Thirst is set there, and it is such an extreme, savage and alien environment that I think it is hard to build the bricks of detail without having experienced it first-hand. My central character, Luke Searle, is a glaciologist and an expert in crevasse rescue and Polar survival and for him to be credible I needed to know enough about these skills. I spent time with experts from the Australian Antarctic Division and also the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, as well as interviewing the scientists who have been to the incredibly remote Pine Island Glacier where Thirst is set.

ACTWC: Are you much of a thriller/horror/cri-fi novel reader?

Larkin: I read thrillers and crime fiction all the time. In my thriller writing courses and workshops I encourage participants to read the masters of the thriller genre and learn from them. My favourite authors range from Lee Child, David Baldacci, Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton, through to John Le Carre, Michael Connelly and Michael Robotham.

ACTWC:  In terms of the space you use to write in, where do you work best? Do you have a pre-writing ritual?

Larkin: As long as it is quiet, I will write anywhere. I prefer a library, as I love to be surrounded by the wonderful knowledge, ideas and imagination encapsulated within books.

ACTWC: Your favourite thing on the internet at the moment?

Larkin: Anything on Antarctica. I am writing two more Antarctic thrillers so I like to read widely about what is going on there at the moment.

If you’re interested in knowking more about L.A. Larkin, her website is available via this link. There are limited places available in L. A. Larkin’s workshop, for more information on the event, read below:

If you love crime and action thrillers and would like to learn how to write them, Larkin’s fun and informative two hour seminar will give you invaluable pointers. She will also touch on what publishers and agents tend to look for in a thriller manuscript. There will be plenty of time for questions during the seminar.

Cost: $20 members of the ACT Writers Centre, $25 non-members
Venue: ACT Writers Centre workshop room
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online by clicking here or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking

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