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Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Feb 28, 2023

A garden shop owner goes out for her morning run and discovers the body of a woman who looks just like her. As more murders shake the city, she fears her past is catching up with her. 

A riveting psychological thriller drawn from true events, Ashley's debut novel 'Dark Mode' delves into the terrifying reality of the dark web, and the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time.

Ashley discusses how and why she wrote the novel, what authors inspired her, and the major mistake she made when sharing the manuscript with James. Plus, she reads an excerpt to get you in a 'Dark Mode' mood. 

This is the last of four weekly mini-episodes in celebration of the March 1st Australian release day!

You can pre-order Dark Mode in Australia and in the UK, from these links or your favourite bookshop. 

Join Ashley and Anna Downes at the Sydney launch of Dark Mode! (James will be there too!) Friday 3 March, 6.30-7.30pm, Better Read Than Dead, Newtown – free, bookings essential.

Join Ashley and JP Pomare at the Melbourne launch of Dark ModeThursday 9 March, 6.30-7.30pm, Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon St – free, bookings essential.

Books and authors discussed in this episode

  • Tana French;
  • Candice Fox;
  • JP Pomare;
  • John Sandford;
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

James' novel 'Denizen' is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy here. 

Get in touch!