Welcome to the high octane world of Olivia Wolfe.
As an investigative journalist, Wolfe lives her life in constant peril. Hunted by numerous enemies who are seldom what the first seem, she must unravel a complex web of lies to uncover an even more terrifying truth.
From the poppy palaces of Afghanistan and Antarctica's forbidding wind-swept ice sheets, to a top-secret military base in the Nevada desert, Wolfe's journey will ultimately lead her to a man who would obliterate civilisation. She must make an impossible choice: save a life – or prevent the death of millions.
British-Australian thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been likened to Michael Crichton and Matthew Reilly. The Genesis Flaw was nominated for four crime fiction awards and Thirst was described by James Phelan as 'the best Antarctic thriller since Ice Station". An adventurer at heart, Larkin has spent time in the Antarctic, with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and the Australian Antarctic Division.
L.A. Larkin lives in Sydney and London, and teaches mystery and thriller writing.
Author: L.A. Larkin
Question: What inspired the story of Devour?
L.A. Larkin: Devour was inspired by a real expedition to Antarctica in 2012 by a British team whose mission was to drill down through three kilometres of ice in the hope they might discover life in an ancient subterranean lake cut off from the rest of the world for centuries. Sadly, the team did not succeed, so the question remains unanswered: is there life down there, and what might happen if it was brought to the surface? Add to this sabotage and murder and you have the opening chapter of my new thriller, Devour.
Question: Why did you choose to set Devour in Antarctica?
L.A. Larkin: Having been to Antarctica and fallen in love with its savage beauty, I'm inevitably drawn to set a novel there. Whilst the Arctic has been a popular location for crime fiction and thrillers, perhaps because of its accessibility, Antarctica does not feature in very many thrillers. Devour is my second novel to be set there. Thirst was the first. In a good thriller, the central character gets into increasing danger and is also increasingly isolated. Devour's central character, investigative journalist Olivia Wolfe, arrives at a remote Antarctic camp and she not only has to survive the hostile climate but she's also faced with some pretty hostile adversaries too.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing thrillers?
L.A. Larkin: I enjoy researching my stories, trying out some of the things my central characters do. For example, Wolfe's job is dangerous. She's reported from war zones, exposed criminals and cover-ups and made some very dangerous enemies, so she needs to be able to defend herself. In the story, Wolfe has been trained by a retired detective and martial arts expert to use everyday objects such as key chains and water bottles as defensive weapons. I was lucky enough to have a friend who could demonstrate these moves – useful techniques any woman could use.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Olivia Wolfe?
L.A. Larkin: Watching her develop and grow as the book evolved. She's the kind of woman I could spend a lot of time with: brave, resourceful and resilient, but like us, she is flawed and makes some terrible mistakes.
Question: Can you talk us through your passion for creating strong women characters?
L.A. Larkin: I love reading action and conspiracy thrillers, which probably explains why I write them too. More often than not, the central character in this style of thriller is male. However, for my new thriller series I wanted to create a dynamic, intriguing and credible female central character who could hold her own in dangerous situations. But I didn't want to create a GI Jane as that is not where my strength as an author lies. So I created the investigative journalist, Olivia Wolfe. I hope you enjoy her adventures as much as I enjoyed creating her.
Interview by Brooke Hunter