Jane Harper- author of The Dry

Author Q&As

Tell us about your book – what inspired you to write it?

The Dry is an atmospheric Australian thriller in which a drought-stricken farming community is rocked by the shocking death of a local family. Federal investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to the home town he left under a cloud twenty years earlier for the funeral of his friend. As he is drawn deeper into the events surrounding the deaths, a long-buried mystery threatens to unearth.

When I started The Dry, my aim was write the kind of book I would enjoy reading myself. I love books with a mystery element and a few twists and turns, and I wanted to write something that I hoped would engage readers. I think regional Australia is such a great setting with so much potential for all sorts of characters and storylines, so I developed a plot that gave me the chance to really explore it.


Do you use your own experiences when writing?

A lot of scenes, characters and conversations in The Dry have been inspired in part by things I came across while working as a journalist both in Australia and the UK. I think working as a reporter teaches you to listen closely to what people are saying and the story they are trying to tell. In a more practical sense, I routinely draw on the writing skills I learnt on newspapers to help me convey things on the page clearly and with a sense of pace.


Which author/s living or dead would you like to have dinner with?

JK Rowling. The impact she has had on reading and children's literature will be celebrated for generations to come. The opportunity to meet someone destined to leave such a lasting legacy must be grasped with both hands!


How and where do you write?

I have a young baby so now I have to write whenever I get the chance. I try to do a few hours every day, and get as much done in that time as possible. I used to write at a desk in the spare room, but now I usually take my laptop to the library out of earshot of the plaintive cries of my infant.


What was your favourite book as a child?

The Witches by Roald Dahl. It possibly wasn't so much a favourite as much as a book that I remember having the most impact on me. I read it far too young and while it possibly scarred me for life, it was also the first time I realised that there were stories that had a dark side, which was a real eye-opener.


We know you are a talented writer, do you have any hidden talents?

My husband and I are one samba dance exam away from achieving our Gold Latin Medal dance award. We started taking casual group dance lessons a few years ago purely for fun and somewhere along the way turned all Strictly Ballroom about it. I knew it had gone too far when I realised the most expensive shoes I own can only be worn on a waxed sprung dance floor.


Can you tell us what you are working on now?

I am currently working on my second novel featuring investigator Aaron Falk, who finds himself facing a fresh mystery in a different but equally remote Australian setting. It is not a direct sequel to The Dry, but is similar in tone and feel so I hope will appeal to the same readers. The novel will be published in Australia this year.