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In the rural Tasmanian town of Dunton the body of a former headmistress of a children’s home is discovered, revealing a tortured life and death.
Detective Jake Hunter, newly-arrived, searches for her killer among past residents of the home. He unearths pain, secrets and broken adults. Pushing aside memories of his own treacherous past, Jake focuses all his energy on the investigation.
Why are some of the children untraceable? What caused such damage among the survivors?
The identity of the murderer seems hidden from Jake by Dunton’s fog of prejudice and lies, until he is forced to confront not only the town’s history but his own nature.
This is gripping, atmospheric, rural Australian crime fiction at its best. For fans of Jane Harper, Val McDermid, Alan Carter, Candice Fox, Dervla McTiernan and Emma Viskic.
The Great Divide explores the lingering impacts of being deemed ‘less than’ by one’s own community, reflecting the silent anguish of many.
L.J. drew on her own childhood in small town Australia to explore the shared experiences of children becoming adults in a world that has cast them aside.
Twisted Secrets. Hidden Victims. Monstrous Crimes. A city detective hunts a killer through a fog of lies in small town Tasmania.
Where and how do you write?
When I’m in the flow, I write almost 24/7.
I write in my head when I’m driving, cooking, cleaning and (ostensibly) watching TV.
My mind works on plot and character development while I sleep.
Otherwise, I can be found on the couch, in bed or on the balcony with my laptop, typing madly.
What other creative activities do you do when not writing?
I work on TAF’s Booklove Tuesdays, bringing readers and writers from a variety of genres together for an hour of intense booklove once a week; I tinker with photography; I drum (Arabic, mostly); and I experiment with unusual recipes from around the world.
What are your thoughts on authors reading reviews of their work?
Take a deep breath, read them for:
a) great grab quotes:
b) themes in the feedback you’re receiving from readers; and
c) excellent dinner party stories about how a reader thought you (a woman scientist) were a horrible man for being so condescending about women in science.
Or the one who took a star off because – despite admitting they knew nothing about archaeology – they ‘thought the author got the archaeology wrong’.
There are some doozies out there!
Were there times you felt like giving up?
My very first reader review on Goodreads was scathing, not of my book particularly, but of the entire genre it belonged to. The reader clearly hadn’t read my book much past the first couple of chapters, they were just using it as an excuse to grandstand.
At the time, it hurt more than I should probably admit. Now, I can look back and laugh at how hit-and-miss the whole review space can be, but at the time it made me doubt whether I should continue.
With hindsight, what would you say to yourself as a fledgling writer?
Just. Keep. Going.
What’s next for your writing?
- another Dr Pimms archaeological cold case, this time involving the women of Genghis Khan’s empire;
- a narrative online game version of Dr Pimms;
- a foray into graphic novels;
- a screenplay of The Great Divide; and
- I’ve had many requests for a follow-up to The Great Divide, so I’m pondering a possible return for Jake Hunter.
Never a dull moment when you’re a writer!
An Australian author, librarian and archaeologist with a passion for reclaiming women’s history, Dr L. J. M. Owen is the host of TAF’s Booklove Tuesdays and literary festival director of the Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival.
L.J.’s latest release, the atmospheric The Great Divide, is a gripping investigation set deep in the heart of rural Tasmania. A dark departure from her usual Dr Pimms archaeological mystery series, The Great Divide is receiving rave reader and industry reviews.
L.J.’s freelance services include writing, editing and speaking. She is currently in COVID19 lockdown with her partner, two cats, four chickens and a motherload of coffee beans.