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Bookmarked Blog

Jane Harper is BACK!

We were lucky enough to interview Jane about her highly-anticipated new novel Exiles. The final novel in the three-part series about federal investigator, Aaron Falk, Exiles explores a tight-knit community within the wine region of Adelaide. Between Falk's closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he's drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.

We already have goosebumps.

Read the Aaron Falk trilogy!

How does it feel to return to writing Australia’s favourite fictional Fed, Aaron Falk?

JH: What a lovely way to describe him, Aaron would be very flattered by that! I loved writing Exiles and spending some more time with Falk, but it was a bittersweet experience because I knew this would be his final book. He’s such a special character for me and Exiles gave me a chance to shine a light on a different side of him.

We hear this is the end of the Aaron Falk trilogy, but can we expect to see him again?

JH: No, this is goodbye. I feel that having a strong ending is just as important as a strong start in fiction, so it was important to me to do justice to a character who has given me so much. I love writing about Falk so I spent a long time thinking about what would be waiting for him in this novel. I wanted to create a story that was exactly right for him, and give him the proper ending he deserves.

We love how your settings are in different Aussie locations – what drew you to setting the novel in Adelaide wine country?

JH: Finding the right setting is such a crucial part of the novel, and the lushness and beauty of South Australia’s wine country stood out immediately. There’s a dark note at the heart of Exiles, 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!

Jane Harper

Jane Harper

Much of Exiles takes place within the grounds of a food and wine festival – can you tell us a little about why you chose to have this intriguing mystery play out in a relatively small setting? How does that serve the story?

JH: Exiles is about relationships at its core, and the way friends and family pull together and drift apart. Falk is a small-town country boy at heart so I also wanted to set this novel somewhere that let him tap into that side of his nature.

I want the settings to feel authentic, and the food and wine festival felt like a very natural part of this particular community. It’s a bustling place where people come together to celebrate their region but it can also hide a multitude of sins.

We love seeing you share insights into your writing process online – who are some of the writers that you’ve learnt from – even if by reading them closely?

JH: Reading widely is absolutely one of the best ways to improve as a writer. When I enjoy a book, I try to take a step back later and work out exactly why I loved it. What did the author do that worked so well? Pacing, language and tone, use of twists or relationship arcs? It’s never just about the story, I’m looking for the techniques that helped tell that story well. Two of my favourite authors to read when I’m writing are Margaret Atwood, for many reasons including her clarity and precision of language, and Marian Keyes for the way she makes challenging themes accessible and for the warmth she infuses into her characters and their relationships. They both execute their craft with such skill, it’s instructive and inspiring.

We can’t wait to see you at some of your upcoming events and bookstore visits - what are you looking forward to about your book tour for Exiles?

JH: Meeting the readers is definitely the highlight. Writing a novel is such a long, solitary experience that I always feel being able to actually get out into the world and meet people in person is the reward for all those lonely hours! The readers are the whole reason I write, and Exiles is for them.

Exiles is available online and at your local Dymocks store.

Jane Harper

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