Interview with C.A. Larmer

Who are your favorite authors?
When it comes to crime writers, I like anyone who keeps me on the edge of my toes without leaving me standing in a gooey pool of blood. I like what Americans call 'Cozy Crime', where it's less about gore, DNA and deviant serial killers (urggh) and more about clever plotting and gripping characters. I like the idea of one murder, 12 suspects, who-the-hell-dunit? For that reason, I can never go past a classic Agatha Christie or the latest alphabet book from Sue Grafton. My home-grown favourite is Aussie paramedic-turned-author Katherine Howell whose mysteries take you on a white knuckle ride each and every time. Harlan Coben has long been a favourite and I've recently discovered British author Mark Billingham. His book The Dying Hours was perfection.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Apart from my boisterous boys and adoring hubby? It has to be the latest book I'm working on. There is nothing more exciting than leaving my computer at the end of the day, knowing i've just thrown my protagonist into some serious trouble and wondering how the hell she'll get out of it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I live on seven acres in a sub-tropical rainforest so I adore taking long walks and soaking up the pure oxygen. I'm a yoga devotee and a busy mother of boys, so the latter tend to take up most of my spare time. That means ferrying them to school, friends and soccer/footy training. I wouldn't trade that for the world.

I also love to travel and find that simply plotting our next big adventure is almost as exciting. Im a research junkie, which helps.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I must have written plenty of short stories as a child but I do recall the first attempt at a novel. I was 13, I had a plot that involved a sexy career woman, a hunky CEO and the city of New York. I would keep my friends and sisters intrigued as I madly scribbled down each chapter but found myself bored to tears. Until I bumped off the CEO, that is. Suddenly I found my inspiration! The book turned pretty dark after that and was eventually abandoned, but it was a worthwhile learning curve. It taught me that, love it or loathe it, crime fiction is my calling not romance or chick lit.
What is your writing process?
I get the boys off to school (Yrs 5 and 7), and then grab a strong coffee and head for the sunroom at the front of our old timber home that I call my office. I have a lovely large Apple desktop and I check emails first, pay a few bills, and generally procrastinate until about 10am when I open my latest draft. I do a quick read of the last few pars, then I'm off, into my world of murder and mayhem. It's great fun. I stop for lunch sometimes with the hubby, who works out of his home studio, then work again until school pick up time around 3pm. After that it's a mad scramble to get anything written and you'll know that if you've ever read my blogs!

Occasionally I have to break the routine to do some paid freelance work for national parenting and health magazines. Once my bread and butter, I find my fiction now pays better so it's got to be a riveting article to take me away from my latest manuscript.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Again, I am sure I read hundreds of children's books before I got to The Three Investigators but that's the book series that really inspired me from an early age. It centres on 3 boys, each with their own unique talents, who must help solve a series of baffling mysteries, from missing treasure to ghost noises in the night. I could never get enough of them and struggled to find more in the dingy little library where I grew up, in the capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. But when I did find a new Investigators, it was like I had discovered treasure of my own!
How do you approach cover design?
I have a wonderful friend and talented web designer who does the covers for me, at a very special mates rate. Stu designs the covers after I have finished the book and decided on the title. First, I source the images then I head to his office and, over a good cuppa (thanks, Amber!) he whips something up. We throw it back and forth for a while, then I sign off and upload it to the internet. Trying to capture 70,000 words in one simple image and a brief cover title is always a challenge and one I look forward to each and every time. Cover designing is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process because I get to see my protagonist, usually Roxy Parker, come to life in front of me.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a little myopic at the moment and there is always plenty of crime fiction by my bedside. Having said that, i also read the newspapers and online news with gusto, I simply can not get enough. But I do love serious literature, too. After each novel, I take a break from crime and immerse myself in a few meaty reads. Latest loves: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and anything by Tim Winton.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have both a Kindle and an iPad and I have to confess, the iPad wins simply because it has a bigger screen and more mobility (my Kindle is a small one). Having said that, the Kindle is the best when reading in bed at night because the screen is darker and less liable to keep me awake (I'm a chronic insomniac). The Kindle is not so useful, however, when the power goes out, which it does here in Goonengerry with surprising regularity!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I was once a reluctant blogger and tweeter, a bit of a modern-day Luddite, but have recently embraced both and am now surprised by how much I enjoy them. They do seem to work! With each blog and mention on my Twitter account, I seem to get a small surge in sales. I also enjoy writing them, and I know they are well read. I just don't get a lot of comments. So feel free to get in touch should you want to!
Describe your desk
It's what you'd call 'organised chaos'. To the untrained eye, it looks a mess—papers and magazines strewn across, scrapbooks with my latest stories opened up, a computer with yellow stickies all over it, and a tangle of phone and gadget cords all over the place. But if I'm looking for something, it takes me less than a second to locate it. Honestly it does!

To the side of my desk are large windows looking out at the stunning view of the surrounding rainforest and in front of my desk is my inspiration board. This is bursting with photos of my family and holiday snaps, bespoke birthday cards from an arty friend, a list of essential phone numbers, and various vivid artworks from my sons. If I'm ever lost for words or caught in a rut, I just stare at my board and feel inspired.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Port Moresby, the dusty, shabby capital of the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. It was a fantastic place to grow up! We spent our days at a multicultural school, our weekends out on the Pacific Ocean, sailing between islands or windsurfing with our friends. It was idyllic. Holidays were occasionally spent on a remote island on the tip of New Guinea called Doini, and I found this was the greatest inspiration for my writing. Not only have I set several books on this island, but there was very little to do there except swim, explore the skull caves, and loll about reading the only thing available— gritty boiled crime. You know the type of books I mean? They always featured shadowy characters under street lights on their covers. I loved these books and they taught me that good stories needn't always be deep and bogged down in detail, it's okay if they're fast and fun. That's how I write my books now. I try to write stories that people can read while on holiday, basking in the sun.
Published 2014-02-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Do Not Go Alone (A Posthumous Mystery)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,000. Language: Australian English. Published: August 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
"There's a bullet in my head and it's really messing with my hairstyle…" Thus begins the second in the best-selling Posthumous Mystery series where a disgruntled murder victim hovers above the crime scene, hopeful the reader can her help solve her own murder before she's lured, kicking and screaming, to the light.
Evil Under the Stars: The Agatha Christie Book Club 3
Series: The Agatha Christie Book Club. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 92,360. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
In their latest and most complex puzzle yet, the Agatha Christie Book Club unite at a moonlit cinema and end up with a dead body just blankets away. It's the unlikeliest of crimes—a woman strangled in a public park, with scores of witnesses and not a single suspect in sight. How did no one hear her scream? And how could the club have been lounging just metres away and missed the whole event?!
Do Not Go Gentle
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 63,070. Language: Australian English. Published: December 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
If you thought your child had just killed you, would you want to know? In this sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartwrenching posthumous mystery, single mom Lulu implores the reader to help solve her murder before the granny-beckoning tunnel swallows her whole. Did her beloved boy really stab her or is there something even more disturbing going on? Help Lulu sort the dead herrings from the clues...
Murder on the Orient (SS): The Agatha Christie Book Club 2
Series: The Agatha Christie Book Club. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 70,040. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Holiday » Adventure
When the Agatha Christie Book Club signs up for a cruise on replica steamship the SS Orient they expect little more than a nostalgic journey back in time. What they get would leave Hercule Poirot scratching his egg-shaped head—one missing passenger, two dead bodies, and enough red herrings to fill the Pacific Ocean. Jump aboard for the second adventure for the beloved book club friends!
A Note Before Dying (Ghostwriter Mystery 6)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,210. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When rock legend Jed Moody is electrocuted while strutting his stuff on stage, he’s lucky his biggest fan Roxy Parker is in the crowd. The Ghostwriter may be there to write his life story but now she wants to know who snuffed it out and why. Could it be a string of lovers, his long-suffering wife, embittered band members or the sexy sparkie with the chip on his shoulder and the soft spot for Roxy?
Words Can Kill (Ghostwriter Mystery 5)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,640. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Holiday » Adventure
Max Farrell’s flatmate has just shown up dead in their Berlin unit and the hunky photographer has vanished, last spotted at a Swiss resort, a perky blonde by his side. Has Roxy Parker’s boyfriend run off with another woman or is his life on the line? Packing her bags and swallowing her pride, the ghostwriter must follow the clues to find her true love, while buckling up for the ride of her life!
Dying Words (Ghostwriter Mystery 4)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,640. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When a dying man utters Roxy Parker's name with his final, gasping breath, the gutsy ghostwriter is thrown into the middle of her most baffling—and brutal—murder mystery yet. Why would a man Roxy barely knows call out her name on his deathbed? What did he give her that holds the key to his murder, and the murder of two friends? And is it linked to a mysterious burglar who is hot on Roxy’s trail?
Last Writes (Ghostwriter Mystery 3)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,050. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
Gutsy ghostwriter Roxy Parker is back, and this time it's personal. Someone is killing best-selling authors and the evidence points firmly at Roxy's agent, Oliver. But she’s not convinced. With the help of seductive reporter David Lone, Roxy tries to hunt down the killer before she becomes the hunted—little does she know, a ghostwriter is next on the hit list! Will this be Roxy's last writes?
The Agatha Christie Book Club
Series: The Agatha Christie Book Club. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,920. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
When Alicia Finlay walks out on her boring old book club and starts a new one devoted to her favorite mystery writer Agatha Christie she has no idea she's about to stumble upon a deadly mystery of her own. It's a mystery so baffling, it would leave even the Queen of Crime scratching her head...
A Plot To Die For (Ghostwriter Mystery 2)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 75,190. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When ghostwriter Roxy Parker accepts a job at a tropical island resort, she expects little more than a good story and a touch of sunstroke. Instead she stumbles upon her hotelier client, dead and buried in a plot of sand, her head protruding ghoulishly for the crabs to devour. And around her, an ensemble cast of glamorous guests who all appear to be hiding something behind their Gucci sunglasses.
Killer Twist (Ghostwriter Mystery 1)
Series: Ghostwriter Mystery, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 83,220. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
No one bats an eyelid when a bag lady washes up on the shores of Sydney, minus five fingers and decked out in designer couture; nor is anyone too perturbed when socialite Beatrice Musgrave plunges to her death soon after. No one, that is, except ghostwriter and Merlot-lover Roxy Parker. She’s been writing Beattie’s 'autobiography' and has just stumbled on a secret that’s worth killing for.