Jane Harper is the author of bestsellers The Dry, Force of Nature, The Lost Man, The Survivors and Exiles. Her books are published in 40 territories worldwide, with more than 3.5 million copies sold to date.
Jane has won numerous awards for writing, including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year.
The major motion picture adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana as Aaron Falk, took more than $20.5m at the Australian box office ahead of release dates overseas.
.Q. Exiles is the third installment in the Aaron Falk series, and another hit that this time takes place in South Australia. How does setting–something you’re famous for–influence this story?
Jane: This story is an Australian mystery sparked by the disappearance of a new mother in the beautiful South Australian wine country, and was a lot of fun to write. It’s the final book featuring federal investigator Aaron Falk, and this time he finds himself increasingly entwined in this tight-knit community in a way that’s somewhat new to him. The freshness and beauty of South Australia’s wine country stood out to me immediately as the right setting for Exiles. There’s a dark note at the heart of the book, but there’s also a lot of light in this story and I wanted a setting that captured that. Bringing the gorgeous scenery and lifestyle on the page was an absolute joy, and the research trips for this book were particularly fabulous!
Q. For readers who don’t know, who is Aaron Falk? What drives him? What haunts him?
Jane: I wrote Exiles knowing it would be Aaron Falk’s final book, so in many ways this novel is my goodbye letter to him. He’s such a special character to me, having been with me since the first page of my first book, The Dry, and then returned in the follow-up Force of Nature. As a financial investigator, his tendency towards a fairly work-drive and solitary life is challenged in Exiles as he reunites with his old friend Greg Raco and is drawn deeper into life in the lush Marralee Valley. I love writing about Falk so it’s very bittersweet to bring his journey to a close, but ending a story well in fiction is just as important as starting it well — arguably even more so — and I wanted to give Falk the considered ending that he deserves.
Q. What’s on your nightstand right now?
Jane: Benjamin Stevenson’s dazzlingly fresh take on the classic crime genre, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone. I highly recommend it.
Q. You originally wrote your breakout hit, The Dry, as part of a 12-week online novel-writing course in 2014. How has life and writing changed for you since then?
Jane: With every book, I learn something new about writing, and one of the best changes has been having an opportunity to really streamline my own process and improve my techniques. I vividly remember being an aspring author and not knowing where to even begin when it came to attempting to write a whole novel. There’s a lot of advice out there, but if I could go back to that early stage, I’d love to reassure myself and other aspring writers that it does get easier. The more you write, the more you absolutely learn what works for you to get your own story on the page, so keep hitting the keyboard and keep the faith!
Q. What’s next?
Jane: I’ll be visiting the US in early February for some events around the release of Exiles, which I’m excited about. My thoughts always drift towards the next book, but I have two young children — aged 3 and 6 — so feel some family time is definitely in order!
Jane Harper's Latest
Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is on his way to a small town deep in Southern Australian wine country for the christening of an old friend’s baby. But mystery follows him, even on vacation.
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Kim Gillespie’s disappearance. One year ago, at a busy town festival on a warm spring night, Kim safely tucked her sleeping baby into her stroller, then vanished into the crowd. No one has seen her since. When Kim’s older daughter makes a plea for anyone with information about her missing mom to come forward, Falk and his old buddy Raco can’t leave the case alone.
As Falk soaks up life in the lush valley, he is welcomed into the tight-knit circle of Kim’s friends and loved ones. But the group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, the missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge. What would make a mother abandon her child? What happened to Kim Gillespie?
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